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Monday, January 24, 2011

Uncovering the Mysteries of Khirbet Qeiyafa


Anyone following major archaeological discoveries in Israel will recall the pottery shard whereon was found five lines of what may be the oldest Hebrew script ever discovered. The find was uncovered at a hitherto unknown archaeological site known as Khirbet Qeiyafa. Despite its mystery, it is emerging as one of the most important archaeological excavations in Israel, revealing an ancient city that may tell a new story about life during the times of ancient Israel's best known kings. Add to this its massive fortifications and its strategic location between Jerusalem and ancient Israel's coastal plain on the main road from ancient Philistia, and we have a site that promises to add much to our understanding of Iron Age Judah. It is in this area that the famous battle between David and Goliath may have taken place.

During previous excavations, an early Iron Age II stratum was uncovered, including a massive casemate wall, a monumental four-chambered gate and residential buildings. Radiometric dating places this stratum in the years 1,000 - 975 B.C., the time of King David. This makes it the only site in Judah that can be securely dated to the time of King David. The 2011 Season (June 12 - July 22) will continue to explore the site's fortifications and its urban layout.

Students and volunteers will have the opportunity to participate and help make a difference in this effort to answer important questions about this significant location. If you are interested in joining the team this summer, go to qeiyafa.huji.ac.il to learn more about how to apply. You may also find additional information about the project at Foundation Stone's site at www.foundationstone.org.

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