Robert Cargill


Dr. Robert R. Cargill is Assistant Professor of Classics and Religious Studies at The University of Iowa. He earned his M.Div. at Pepperdine University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. at UCLA. He is the author of Qumran through (Real) Time: A Virtual Reconstruction of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls (Gorgias, 2009).While at UCLA, he was the chief architect and designer of the UCLA Qumran Visualization Project, a real-time virtual reconstruction of the site of Qumran, and a research associate at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology.

Dr. Cargill has appeared as an expert on numerous documentaries and television shows, and recently hosted the National Geographic special, Writing the Dead Sea Scrolls (2010). He is also well known for his widely-read blog, XKV8R (, which specializes in debunking sensational archaeological claims made by amateurs and the media. Professor Cargill is also an active member of the Society of Biblical Literature, where he serves as Chair of the Blogging and Online Publication section, and in the American Schools of Oriental Research, where he chairs ASOR's Media Relations Committee.

Presenter at

Bible & Archaeology Fest XIX, November 18 - 20, 2016
CNN’s Finding Jesus - Season 2: A Preview of the Issues

In the Spring of 2017, CNN will air Season 2 of its hit series Finding Jesus. Several well-known archaeologists and Biblical scholars— including many Bible and Archaeology Fest presenters—consulted on and appear in the series. In this talk, University of Iowa professor of Classics and Religious Studies, Robert Cargill, discusses his involvement in the series, and gives us a preview of the episodes on Herod the Great, Pontius Pilate, and the birthplace and childhood home of Jesus, and discusses some of the issues that will be raised in each episode.

Bible & Archaeology Fest XVII, November 21 - 23, 2014
A Deluge of Flood Stories: Flood Mythology, the Bible, and Aronofsky’s Noah

This presentation examines the origins of the biblical flood story, the character of Noah, and the legends of the Nephilim and giants passed down through Jewish literary tradition. The presentation compares these to Darren Aronofsky’s 2014 film Noah, highlighting points of congruence and departure in the film adaptation.

Bible & Archaeology Fest XVI, November 22 - 24, 2013
The Preliminary Results from the First Two Seasons at Tel Azekah

This presentation discusses the preliminary results from the first two seasons of the new excavations at Tel Azekah, located in the Elah Valley in the Shephelah, west of Jerusalem. The presentation highlights the University of Iowa’s 3D, virtual reality reconstruction of Tel Azekah, offering an overview of the region, the tel as well as the excavated areas, and examines the benefit of digitally modeling archaeological finds as they are excavated.

Bible & Archaeology Fest XIV, November 18-20, 2011
No, No You Didn’t Find That: The Importance of Scholarly Refutation in An Era of Social Media

This lecture examines several false, sensational archaeological claims related to the Bible made by amateurs and the media over the past few years and refutes them. The lecture then argues why scholars must engage in organized, public refutation of sensational Biblical archaeological claims, and how a knowledge of and presence within popular social media outlets like Facebook and blogs can help curtail the sensationalism that continues to plague the field of Biblical archaeology.

Selected Books by Robert Cargill