VIU School of Archaeology

Mission & Objectives

The mission of the VIU School of Archaeology (VSA) is to study the organic, cause-and-effect relationships between biblical and ancient Near Eastern history discernable from archaeological, anthropological, and comparative literary inquiry, with the purpose of developing competent, biblically-grounded and Christ-centered archaeologists who are able to:

  • Perform and/or direct methodologically-sound archaeological research, exploration, and excavation in the field.
  • Demonstrate the historical authenticity and veracity of biblical narratives via professional publication and media.
  • Contribute to a hermeneutical framework that comprehends the biblical record in the light of ancient Near Eastern contexts.

To accomplish these objectives, the VSA offers two programs of study (MA/PhD) in the field of archaeology and biblical history. In addition to academic research and laboratory analysis in the United States, students will engage in hands-on archaeological fieldwork in the Middle East (Tal el-Hammam Excavation Project/Sodom, or another site of your choice approved by the director) led by PhD program director, Dr. Steven Collins. After more than 13 seasons of excavation at the site, VSA archaeology students are in a prime position to excavate, research, evaluate and contribute to publishing the material data (see The Tall el-Hammam Excavations, Volume One (Eisenbrauns, 2015), Discovering the City of Sodom (Simon & Schuster, 2013), and The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Bible: Discoveries that Confirm the Reliability of Scripture (Harvest House, 2013).

Fieldwork Excavation & Course Scheduling

From mid-January through the first week in March each year, the archaeology faculty will be excavating at Tall el-Hammam/Sodom (or other sites) throughout Europe and the Middle East. This is the time when MA/PhD students can fulfill their fieldwork requirements (a valid passport is required). Contact Dr. Steven Collins for more information, details, and requirements.

Therefore, spring semester residential course offerings will begin in late March. This will not effect those engaged in distance learning courses or thesis/dissertation writing.

Bible Lands Expedition (BLE)

Each October, several of the archaeology faculty lead the Bible Lands Expedition course to Israel and Jordan (sometimes Egypt). Academic credit (AR611 Historical Geography – 2 units) is available and may be applied to your MA/PhD degree program. A valid passport is required. The BLE is open to all degree programs. Contact Dr. Steven Collins for more information, details, and requirements. 2018 BLE Itinerary & Registration


The VIU Albuquerque site includes the Museum of Archaeology, designed to illuminate biblical history with pottery and objects from the ancient Near East. Ranging from the Neolithic through the Early Roman Period, over 500 artifacts are linked to Old and New Testament texts, revealing the material culture behind the stories of biblical characters such as Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, the prophets, and Jesus. The Museum also displays artifacts from Sodom (Tall el-Hammam, Jordan), the most biblically-significant ongoing excavation in the Holy Land (directed by Dr. Steven Collins of the VIU School of Archaeology). The Museum provides students with curatorial and hands-on experience with ancient artifacts, as well as supporting an understanding of how biblical and ANE history and chronology intertwine.

The historical and apologetic value of our students’ archaeological research of the ancient Near East positions each student to contribute to the discussion on biblical reliability based on primary research.

Degree Programs

MA in Archaeology & Biblical History

PhD in Archaeology & Biblical History

For VSA program inquiries, contact the director, Dr. Steven Collins