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The Excavation Site of Khirbet Qeiyafa Introduction to the general context of the excavation and attempts to identify the site Rostislav Kůrka.

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Presentation on theme: "The Excavation Site of Khirbet Qeiyafa Introduction to the general context of the excavation and attempts to identify the site Rostislav Kůrka."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Excavation Site of Khirbet Qeiyafa Introduction to the general context of the excavation and attempts to identify the site Rostislav Kůrka

2 Khirbet Qeiyafa What it really is Where it really is What is its importance

3 What is Khirbet Qeiyafa? an archaeological site that has only recently been excavated (start 2008) a 2.3 ha large fortified city dated approximately to the 10 th century BCE it plays an important role in the current debate about the beginnings of the kingdom of Judah source:

4 Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Spotlight originally noted and briefly surveyed at the end of the 19th century (1869 – Victor Guérin, C.R. Conder & H.H. Kitchener) during the 20th century completely forgotten in 1992 briefly noted by Yehuda Dagan in 2001, by Z. Greenhut in 2005, noticed by Saar Ganor of the Israel Antiquities Authority, who noticed a massive Iron Age structure at the site (2-3 m high wall) in 2007, examination led by Saar Ganor and prof. Yosef Garfinkel, excavation started 2008

5 Leading the Excavation Saar Ganor prof. Yosef Garfinkel

6 Yosef Garfinkel *1956 PhD archaeology 1992, then 2004 professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem excavated many sites from the neolithic and chalcolithic periods, like Tel Tsaf, Sha'ar HaGolan, Gesher and neolithic Ashkelon since 2007 has been leading the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavations engages in the dispute about the beginnings of ancient Judah/Israel

7 Why Khirbet Qeiyafa became important? main reasons for choosing particularly this site for the excavation, as stated by Ganor&Garfinkel: Khirbet Qeiyafa is not a tel (a site where many strata have accumulated one above other) – Qeiyafa ''is essentially a single-stratum, Iron Age site. In most of the site, remains are found immediately below the topsoil.'' (Ganor-Garfinkel, 2009) the site is fairly intact (i.e. has not been used for digging and gathering building materials etc.) geopolitical importance: situated in the Elah Valley, on the presumed border between Judah and Philistia, overlooking main road to Jerusalem and Hebron from the Coastal Plain

8 Source: Google Earth

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10 Geographical Location Khirbet Qeiyafa is located in the Shephelah region (the hill country between the mountains of Judah and the coastal plain) approximately 27 km west of Jerusalem, near the city of Bet- Shemesh because of this, the researchers see it as an important border site from 10 th century BCE, time of the conflict between the Philistines and Judah (mentioned in the Bible - Saul, David) Tel-es-Safi, identified as biblical Gath, is only 12 km west from KQ – if KQ indeed was a Judean border city, it might have had great importance in this respect

11 Between Azekah and Sochoh two other important archaeological sites in vicinity: Tel Zakariyeh, associated with the Biblical Azekah, lies 2 km to the west, Khirbet Shuwaika, associated with Biblical Sochoh, lies 2.5 km to the southeast

12 Source: Google Earth

13 Between Azekah and Sochoh

14 Location in Elah Valley Khirbet Qeiyafa is situated on the northern side of the Elah Valley, overlooking it Elah Valley = ''Terebinth Valley'', the place of the battle described in 1 Sam 17

15 Excavation process in 2007, initial two-week examination of the site took place in 2008, the first season: a six-week excavation was undertaken 600 square meters of the city were uncovered, including a 4-chamber gate, a casemate-system city wall and 2 buildings in the western part of the city also an ostracon was found which made Qeiyafa famous first week in November later that year, a second gate was uncovered in the eastern part of the city. Garfinkel&Ganor believe it to be the main gate, facing Jerusalem source:

16 Total length of the city walls: about 700 m source: (after 2010 season)

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18 Possibilities for site identification Originally (pre-2008), Garfinkel and Ganor entertained the idea of identifying the city as Biblical Azekah (=Tel Zakariyeh would have been something else). Counterargument: according to Biblical account, Azekah remained settled and important until post-exilic period (Jr 34:7, Neh 11:30), whereas KQ did not last Jeremiah 34:7: ''When the king of Babylon's army fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish, and against Azekah: for these defenced cities remained of the cities of Judah.'' Jeremiah 34:7: ''When the king of Babylon's army fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish, and against Azekah: for these defenced cities remained of the cities of Judah.'' Nehemiah 11:30 ''...Zanoah, Adullam, and in their villages, at Lachish, and the fields thereof, at Azekah, and in the villages thereof. And they dwelt from Beersheba unto the valley of Hinnom.''

19 Possibilities for site identification After discovering the second gate, G&G proposed: KQ is Biblical Sha'arayim (=''Two gates''). Cf. 1 Sam 17:52 ''And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron.'' Counterargument: the ending -ayim might be ''pseudo-dual'' and does not have to mean literally two gates N. Na'aman had also proposed that Sha'arayim must lay on the way to Gath, which KQ probably wouldn't since Sha'arayim is mentioned as a direction, it would require it to be well-established in the general knowledge and tradition, however, KQ by all evidence did not last more than few decades

20 Possibilities for site identification Ephes Dammim: ''between Azekah and Sochoh'' 1 Samuel 17:1 ''Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Sochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim.'' 1 Samuel 17:1 ''Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Sochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim.''

21 Source: Google Earth

22 Possibilities for site identification Ephes Dammim: ''between Azekah and Sochoh'' Counterargument: Ephes Dammim was an area name, Philistines were camping there, Goliath asked Israelites to ''come down'' Adithaim or Gov: random sites from the Biblical lists

23 Questions left to answer Excavation of Khirbet Qeiyafa has already provided valuable discoveries and could still contribute to the quest for the history of ancient Israel/Judah Khirbet Qeiyafa was by all evidence a border city between Judah and Philistia Was it really a Judean city? What city should be Khirbet Qeiyafa identified with, if any? How can its research contribute to Biblical archeology? What could it mean?

24 Thank you for your attention!


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