Clayton Van Huss

Clayton Van Huss Headshot

Expert Topics:

  • Biblical Archaeology
  • Biblical Culture
  • Archaeology and Apologetics
  • What Archaeology Reveals about the History of the Holy Land in Light of Current Disputes
  • The Dangers of Pseudo Archaeology to the Testimony of Christ

Clayton Van Huss

Biblical Archeologist. SWRC's Archaeology Specialist and Frequent Traveler to Israel.

I’m Clayton Van Huss, director of Affirm Ministries, the apologetics branch of Southwest Radio Ministries. I am pursuing an MA in Biblical History and Archaeology from The Bible Seminary in Katy, Texas. I am involved in Associates for Biblical Research’s current excavation at Tel Shilo, שילה הקדומה Ancient Shiloh in Israel. I’m looking forward to Some great discussions and encouragement here along with healthy and respectful debate.


Director of Affirm, an apologetics ministry with Southwest Radio Ministries

Field archaeologist, currently excavating at Tel Shilo in Israel

Guest lecturer on Biblical Archaeology

M.A. in Biblical History & Archaeology

Contributor to Prophecy in the News magazine, The Prophetic Observer, and Watchman on the Wall daily radio broadcast

Classically trained actor

Born on the island of Okinawa

Involved with the Production of documentaries, narratives, and instructional videos that share the good news of Jesus Christ and provide a quality alternative to the philosophies taught by secular media

Helped found Refuge Media as its director.

Produced several Christian films: Includes The Brothers’ Christmas, 1517 The Flame Rekindled, Born in a Stable, and Goodwill to Men.


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Clayton was born on the island of Okinawa.  His father was a decorated officer in the United States Marine Corps, which means that Clayton spent his early years having grand adventures in diverse locations.  His family roots are deep in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee and western North Carolina.

Having a great passion for adventure since early childhood, Clayton spent much of his youth studying history and roaming the hills looking for relics of bygone days.  In high school, Clayton a passion for acting when he played an Egyptian officer in a play about the Biblical character Joseph.  This first encounter with theatre led to enrolling at The Academy of Arts Christian College in Taylors, South Carolina.  During his time at the Academy, Clayton learned through hands on training about theatre tech and acting.  He was in a graduating class of one.

Over the course of the next eighteen years, Clayton had many more adventures.  He studied Theatre at East Tennessee State University for a couple of years before taking some time for a series of adventures.  During this time, Clayton sub-contracted for FEMA in New York during the 9/11 attacks and in east Texas for the Shuttle Columbia recovery effort.  He traveled to Honduras several times for mission work there gained a heart for missions.

In 2009, Clayton made the decision to return to East Tennessee State University where he received his B.A. in Theatre with a minor in Radio, Television, and Film.  He graduated in May, 2013.

In 2015, Clayton helped to found Refuge Media as its director.  Refuge Media is a non profit video production ministry under the umbrella of Appalachian Educational Communication Corporation.  AECC  has been in existence since 1980 and had dealt mainly with Christian radio, WHCB 91.5fm being the flagship station.  Refuge Media began producing Christian narrative films and documentaries in February 2017.

Clayton traveled to Israel in 2020, fulfilling a long time dream.  While there, God began to move in Clayton’s heart.  During this adventure, the places, names, and history of the Bible began to come to life.  It was winter, and the cold stone spoke more to the truth and historicity of scripture than any mystical or miraculous event ever could.  Upon return to the United States, God used the COVID lockdowns to give the time for reflection and study.  By the end of the year, Clayton knew that he was hearing God’s call to study the history and culture of the Bible.

In fall of 2021, Clayton plans to attend The Bible Seminary in Katy, Texas to pursue an M.A. in Biblical History & Archaeology.


A.A. Dramatic Production from The Academy of Arts, Taylors, SC.  1995
B.A. Theatre from East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN.  2013


Archery, Firearms Familiarity, Tennessee handgun safety course, Can field strip an AK-47 blindfolded, 19th Century military drill and customs:  Hardee’s and Casey’s manuals, Basic stage combat:  Empty Hand, Rapier, Rapier and Dagger, Broadsword, Quarterstaff, Radio and Commercial Voice Work, Various Dialects, Can Tie a Bow Tie.





While scraping dirt off of dirt in Tel Shilo, I came across many objects.  Some were mysteries to me with unknown functions or unrecognizable features, but this one I knew.  Just the day before, Dr. Gary Byers of Trinity Southwest University had taken the time to familiarize me with Iron Age lamps.  There was a unique curvature to the pottery, very similar to the “fish lips” that I used to imitate as a child by sucking in my cheeks.  This curved lip was different from the mouth of trefoil pottery in that there was usually black soot around the edge indicating where the flaxen wick would have burned the olive oil that was used as fuel.

Our square was confidently dated to the Late Bronze Age, possibly a storage room built against the massive city wall, but I was busy removing tumble from a later period.  This mass of dirt on the inner wall was an intrusion from the Iron Age.  My guffa (a sort of bucket or pail made from old tires) was full of dirt, small rocks, and potsherds.  Scooping the troweled dirt into a dustpan, I noticed the curved bit of pottery.  I picked it out to toss it into my pail (ABSOLUTELY NOT A BUCKET) of diagnostic sherds.

Like Burns’ plowman who came across a mouse nest and took his chance to rest from physical labor to ponder the fates of mice and men, I wondered about the experiences of this little piece of fired clay.  I looked at the black edge and thought about who might have lit the wick and benefited from the small amount of light produced thereby.  Looking just a few meters up the hill, I could see the monumental walls of an intriguing structure.  The proportions of those Iron Age walls match nicely with the biblical description of the Tabernacle.  For reasons that will be covered in future posts, we believe that those walls may well have held the curtains of the Tabernacle.

Looking at the structure, I was reminded of two biblical accounts and wondered if this sherd of pottery could have witnessed either one.  First, I thought of Hannah.  Hannah had come to Shiloh with Elkanah, her husband, to bring tithes and offer sacrifice to the God of Israel.  Hannah was unable to bear children.  Grieving in her heart, Hannah knelt near the doorpost of the Tabernacle and prayed silently to God to give her a son.  Although no sound came from her lips, the Lord heard the prayer of Hannah and sent her a son, Samuel.

After some time, Hannah brought her firstborn son to the Tabernacle and gave him, the most precious thing in her possession, to God.  Samuel grew up in the service of the Lord under the direction the High Priest, Eli.  One night as the boy was drifting off to sleep, he heard a voice calling his name.  Three times he went obediently to Eli, and three times Eli told Samuel that he had not called the boy.  On the third occasion, Eli realized that the voice was that of God.  He told Samuel to answer the Lord the next time he heard the voice.  Samuel obeyed and God spoke with him, revealing His plans for the house of Eli.

As I pondered these instances, I turned the tiny piece of clay over in my gloved hand.  Did this sherd wash down the hill from the Tabernacle?  Could it be possible that this was a piece of the lamp that young Samuel extinguished the night he first heard the voice of the Lord?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  It was certainly from the right time, but in this life I will never know the history of that little chip of pottery.

In my meditation there under the hot sun of Shiloh, I also prayed.  I thanked God for the opportunity to dig in that special place.  I asked for direction and opportunities to serve like Samuel.  I prayed silently, confident that the Lord heard my prayer.  Like Samuel, the Lord spoke to me too, not in an audible voice in the night, but quietly in my opened heart.  He reminded me that He has plans and a direction for my life.  I may not see the end my path, but I can confidently walk with the lamp that He has given me one step at a time.  I don’t know what adventures lie ahead, but I know that He has ordained them, and I am more than okay with that.



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