FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) -- Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary will launch a new Ph.D. in Archaeology and Biblical Studies this fall, becoming the only Southern Baptist seminary or academic institution to grant master’s and doctoral degrees in archaeology. Additionally, the seminary will be only one of two evangelical institutions where a student can earn a Ph.D. in Archaeology.
“The uniqueness of our program is that students get training in two separate but overlapping disciplines: archaeology and biblical studies,” said Steven Ortiz, professor of archaeology and biblical backgrounds as well as director of the Tandy Institute for Archaeology at Southwestern. Ortiz, along with new professor Thomas Davis, will oversee the program.
“It is an intensive program because students have to master two fields of study; but upon completion, our graduates will be positioned to make an impact in biblical archaeology. Other programs are really Bible-based with one or two courses that have some archaeological content. Basically, our students can interpret the biblical texts and also the archaeological record.”
Southwestern created a Master of Arts in archaeology and biblical studies in 2007. The first group of graduates are preparing for graduation in May.
Southwestern is no stranger to the field of archaeology. E.L. Carlson served as professor of biblical archaeology and Semitic languages from 1921-1964. Carlson traveled around the world, gathering collections of manuscripts and artifacts, including a cuneiform collection from ancient Mesopotamia. In the 1980s, professor George Kelm established Southwestern’s archaeology program and led students on excavations of the ancient city of Timnah. Kelm founded the Charles D. Tandy Archaeological Museum in the seminary’s A. Webb Roberts Library in 1983.
Ortiz joined Southwestern’s faculty in 2006. He and Sam Wolff of the Israel Antiquities Authority oversee the Tel Gezer Excavation and Publication Project, a consortium field project investigating the ancient biblical city of Gezer. Southwestern Old Testament professor Eric Mitchell also conducts the Gezer Regional Survey alongside the project.
Davis, elected to faculty at Southwestern by trustees in 2010, has been director of Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute since 2003. Prior to that, he served as assistant vice president and archaeological investigator for R. Christopher Goodwin and Associates from 1991 to 2003. He has participated in research excavations in locations such as Cyprus, Egypt and Jordan. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.
For more information about Southwestern’s Tandy Institute for Archaeology, visit For more information on the excavations at Tel Gezer, visit