King David’s Palace Discovered? Archaeologists Find Huge Palace, Storeroom At Khirbet Qeiyafa Site
This is a trip that I hope to take soon.
After many years of searching, Israeli archaeologists announced the discovery of a large palace and storeroom believed to have once belonged to the Biblical monarch King David.
“The ruins are the best example to date of the uncovered fortress city of King David,” lead researchers Yossi Garfinkel and Saar Ganor said, according to the Jerusalem Post. “This is indisputable proof of the existence of a central authority in Judah during the time of King David.”
The excavation was a joint project led by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Israel Antiquities Authorities that took place over seven years at Khirbet Qeiyafa, roughly 18 miles southwest of Jerusalem, according to a news release from the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA).
Finding evidence of King David, who is believed to have ruled over the Kingdom of Judah during the 10th century BCE, is a common goal of researchers in Israel because of his prominent role in Biblical history, the New York Times notes. A palace could help prove that King David was an impressive man, as the Bible suggests, and not a small chieftain.
During the past year, Garfinkel and Ganor uncovered two large buildings at the site, believed to be part of the regional city of Shaarayim. This is not the Shaarayim near Rehovot .One of the buildings was identified as a palace, while the other is believed to be a very large royal storeroom.
The storeroom contains evidence that can help researchers date the site.
“This is the only site in which organic material was found — including olive seeds — that can be carbon-14 dated [to King David’s time],” Israel Antiquities Authority spokeswoman Yoli Schwartz told The Times of Israel.
All told, the researchers at Khirbet Qeiyafa have uncovered a large portion of city wall, two gates, a pillar building and 10 houses, according to the IAA. The group noted that the famous battle between the young shepherd David and the monstrous Goliath is believed to have occurred in the area.
The site is of such historical importance that Israeli authorities have canceled a planned development project in the region and will protect the area as a national park.
This is not the first time archaeologists have announced what they believe to be evidence of the figure. In 2008, Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar said that she found what she believed to be King David’s palace in an ancient area of Jerusalem by using Biblical descriptions to guide her excavations. However, the Times of Israel notes that Mazar’s findings remain controversial, due in part to her dependence on a literal reading of ancient religious texts during her research.
Up-date:Khirbet Qeiyafa and Tel Lachish Excavations Explore Early Kingdom of Judah
After seven seasons at Khirbet Qeiyafa, the team heads to Lachish
• 11/08/2013 http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/
Seven seasons of excavations at the fortified site of Khirbet Qeiyafa have reshaped our understanding of the early kingdom of Judah. Monumental discoveries from the 2013 season provide new evidence of an extensive civil administration during the time of King David. To continue investigating the tenth-century kingdom of Judah, the Qeiyafa archaeologists are heading to Lachish. In the article “An Ending and a Beginning: Why We’re Leaving Qeiyafa and Going to Lachish” in the November/December 2013 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, archaeologists Yosef Garfinkel, Michael Hasel and Martin Klingbeil explain how “the results from Khirbet Qeiyafa, together with the results from Lachish, will enable us to obtain a clearer and more complete picture of the early history of the kingdom of Judah in the tenth and ninth centuries B.C.E. We view these two excavations as one regional project.
”Khirbet Qeiyafa is an essentially one-period Iron Age site that has been identified with Biblical Sha’arayim. Sha’arayim, mentioned in the Bible in connection with the David and Goliath narrative, translates to “two gates,” a feature consistent with the unique casemate fortifications at Qeiyafa. Biblical Archeology readers are familiar with the groundbreaking discoveries at Khirbet Qeiyafa. The five-line Qeiyafa Ostracon is potentially the oldest extant Hebrew inscription and some scholars interpret the text to refer to the birth of the Israelite monarchy. The excavations have also uncovered shrine models and other cultic paraphernalia.
The final 2013 field season uncovered two monumental buildings as described above.
The team uncovered a massive structure measuring over 10,000 square feet at the center of the site that “reflects power and authority over the city, as well as the region.” The authors “believe it was an administrative center of the recently established Davidic kingdom.” When the discovery was first announced, it was heralded as King David’s palace in the popular media, and the archaeologists write that while “he lived in his palace at Jerusalem … as the major administrative center on the western edge of David’s kingdom, it could have been a palatial building.”
Garfinkel, Hasel and Klingbeil write: “Khirbet Qeiyafa redefined the debate over the early kingdom of Judah. It is clear now that David’s kingdom extended beyond Jerusalem, that fortified cities existed in strategic geopolitical locations and that there was an extensive civil administration capable of building cities. The inscription indicates that writing and literacy were present and that historical memories could have been documented and preserved for generations.”After extensive excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa, the team will continue on to an even more prominent excavation: Tel Lachish. Lachish was the second most important city in the kingdom of Judah, after Jerusalem. While its later destruction was immortalized by Sennacherib’s reliefs at Nineveh, the city has a rich history before the destruction. Three previous teams excavated Lachish over the past 80 years—
Why begin a fourth expedition to Lachish? Khirbet Qeiyafa provided a great deal of information on the early tenth century B.C.E., and understudied strata (Levels IV and V) at Lachish will teach us about the second half of the century. When was Lachish inhabited for the first time in the Iron Age? When was it first fortified? What can it teach us about the economy, administration, international connections, writing and cult of the early kingdom of Judah? Garfinkel, Hasel and Klingbeil present the discoveries at Qeiyafa and agenda for Lachish in “An Ending and a Beginning.” The authors write: “For 2014 on, all are welcome to join this fascinating new project in the most fascinating Biblical city of Lachish.”
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