Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Reuben Bullard Sr., 76, scoured Earth in study of ancients

Passions: Archaeology, geology, Jesus

By Rebecca Goodman
Enquirer staff writer

INDEPENDENCE - Reuben G. Bullard Sr., an internationally known archaeological geologist and Christian scholar who taught at Cincinnati Bible College and Seminary and at the University of Cincinnati, died Saturday afternoon at his home here. He was 76.

"This field of archaeological geology is one that is relatively new," said UC professor of geology David Meyer. "Archaeologists are using more information about the rocks that are found at archaeological sites - determining how ancient people used stones in their cultures. He was one of the pioneers of the field."

Dr. Bullard worked on numerous excavations in Israel, Cyprus, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Greece and Italy.

"As an archaeological geologist, his role would be to identify and interpret the environment in which a society, a culture, a city was located," said his son, Reuben "Rick" Bullard Jr. of Fort Thomas. That might involve the identification of quarries that were used to build walls or streets, or identifying the clay resources of the important ceramic industries.

"He would help unravel the complexities of the stratigrophy - or layers - within an archaeological context, helping the archaeologist properly interpret them," his son said.

Dr. Bullard's first project was at Tell Gezer, Israel, a site halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv that has been occupied since prehistoric times. There, he worked with Nelson Glueck, former president of Hebrew Union College, and George Ernst Wright, former head of Semitic studies at Harvard University (both deceased).

Born in Wheeling, W.Va., Dr. Bullard moved to Mitchell, Ind., before his senior year in high school. He moved to Greater Cincinnati in his early 20s to study at Cincinnati Bible College.

"Geology was his great love," his son said. "He felt that this was the point that Bible history and science met. He could combine all of these things together - passion of history and science and a committed life to the Lord."

From Cincinnati Bible College and Seminary, Dr. Bullard received a bachelor's degree in theology and ancient Near East history, a master's degree in historical geography and a bachelor's degree in intertestamental studies. From the University of Cincinnati, he received a bachelor's degree in classics, a master's degree in the philosophy of geology, and a doctorate in geology.

He taught history, science and archaeology at Cincinnati Bible College from 1961 until 2001. He was in his 37th year teaching geology night classes at UC.

"He was a gentle man - a compassionate man - always looking for the beauty in creation," his son said.

In addition to his son Rick, survivors include his wife of 48 years, Lynn Maine Bullard; another son, Howard Bullard of Rushville, Ind.; two daughters, Cathy Bullard Morgret of Rome, Ohio, and Suzanne Bullard Prichard of Brandon, Fla.; a brother, Richard L. Bullard of Delhi Township; and six grandchildren.

Visitation is 11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Thursdayat Nicholson Christian Church, 1970 Walton-Nicholson Pike in Independence, followed by a memorial service at 2 p.m. Graveside service immediately follows at Independence Cemetery.

Memorials: Nicholson Christian Church Stewardship Campaign, P.O. Box 5, Independence, KY 41051-0005.

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Reuben Bullard Sr., 76, scoured Earth in study of ancients