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Chapman professors meet nobility at Armageddon

October 15, 2010

Touring Megiddo together were (l-r) Julye Bidmead, Ph.D., Lady and Lord Allenby, and Marvin Meyer, Ph.D.

 During recent travels to the Middle East, Marvin Meyer, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Religious Studies, and Julye Bidmead, Ph.D. assistant professor of Religious Studies, met British nobles Lord Viscount and Lady Allenby of Megiddo at the archaeological dig at Megiddo in Israel.

Megiddo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a multi-period archaeological dig with 27 layers of civilization from about 3500 BCE to 100 CE.  Rich with biblical history, Megiddo, referred to as the place of “Armageddon” in the New Testament, also served as the background for James Michener’s famous bestseller, The Source.

Archaeological excavations at Megiddo were conducted early in the 20th century by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago with funding from John D. Rockefeller, Jr.  The present excavation team, headed by Dr. Israel Finkelstein of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv, with the collaboration of several American universities, including George Washington, Vanderbilt, Loyola Marymount, and most recently Chapman University, began its project in 1994 and just finished its 10th season of biannual excavations this summer.  Dr. Bidmead has been an integral part of the Megiddo staff since 1996.  This summer, Dr. Meyer toured the site and offered greetings from the Chapman University Department of Religious Studies.  His timely visit coincided with the visit of the dig’s patrons, Lord and Lady Allenby of Megiddo.

The 80-year-old Lord Michael Allenby of Megiddo and his wife Lady Sara have visited Megiddo many times. Lord Allenby is the great-nephew of British Field Marshall Edmund Allenby, who in 1918 invaded the north of Palestine through the Megiddo Pass, eventually leading to the end of Turkish rule in the region. Edmund Allenby became the First Viscount Allenby of Megiddo.

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