Located on the campus of Grand Rapids Theological Seminary at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, MI, the Hesse Memorial Archaeological Laboratory exists to facilitate research, train students, and serve as a platform for public outreach and education. It is named in honor of Prof. Brian C. Hesse (1944-2011) of The Pennsylvania State University, a teacher, mentor, colleague, and friend of the current lab director Dr. Jonathan S. Greer and pioneer in the application of “zooarchaeology” (the archaeology of animal bones) to the field of biblical archaeology.
Current research includes the analysis of a large collection of animal bone remains from the site of Tel Dan in northern Israel on loan from the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology at the Hebrew Union College of Jerusalem. This analysis will be included in the final excavation volumes for the Tel Dan project currently being prepared and now benefits from collaboration with Dr. Elizabeth Arnold of Grand Valley State University, Department of Anthropology.
Consistent with the commitment of Grand Rapids Theological Seminary to provide rigorous training not only in original language exegesis but also in the historical-cultural backgrounds of the Bible, the Hesse Memorial Lab is utilized for training students in methods of scientific archaeology, i.e., zooarchaeology. Elective courses BBL600 Biblical Archaeology and BBL783 Methods and Practice in Biblical Archaeology are offered regularly as small group, hybrid, or independent study courses and utilize the lab extensively. The lab is equipped with appropriate manuals, scientific instruments (including a digital microscope and photography station), and an ever-growing reference collection of comparative faunal remains. The space also serves to provide pre-dig training for students participating in the current excavations at Tel Dan, for which Dr. Greer will serve as Associate Director in 2016.
The lab will also co-host public lectures on topics related to biblical archaeology that will be advertised here and elsewhere as events are finalized. The lab is also open for tours for interested public and private school groups and religious institutions. Please contact Dr. Greer to arrange a tour.