The Quest for the Historical King David: New Light from Khirbet Qeiyafa and Khirbet el Rai
Professor Yosef Garfinkel, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
A lecture presented by the Anglo-Israel Archeological Society, together with the Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Manchester and the Jewish Historical Society of England.
Since the early 1980’s various doubts had been cast on the descriptions of King David in the biblical tradition. Some scholars claimed that he is purely literary and mythological figure. Other suggested that he was just a local tribe leader, without urban society or a real kingdom. Indeed no clear archaeological data on King David era existed at that time, not even in Jerusalem.
This situation had been changed completely with our excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa (2007-2013) and the ongoing excavations at Khirbet el Rai. These two sites revealed new data that completely changed our knowledge on the period of King David.
The lecture will concentrate on the major finds from Khirbet Qeiyafa. Of special interest are the city walls, public buildings, administration, writing and radiometric datings. These altered completely the previous understanding of King David era.
Drinks reception will be held after.
FREE but registration is required – REGISTER HERE
Yosef Garfinkel is Yigael Yadin Professor of Archaeology of the Land of Israel at the Institute of Archaeology, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. For many years he was a prehistorian, excavating Neolithic and Chalcolithic sites. Bible Lands Museum organize in 1999 an exhibit on the Shaar Hagolan excavations, where the largest assemblage of Prehistoric art from Israel has been unearthed. Later the Met in NYC and the Louvre in Paris also dedicated small exhibits to Shaar Hagolan, which are still open.
From 2007 to 2013 Prof. Garfinkel excavated at Khirbet Qeiyafa. A small, then unknown, site located in the Valley Elah, the Valley of David and Goliath. The big surprise came in 2008 when radiometric dating of olive pits, processed at Oxford University, gave a date of 1000 BC, the time of King David. Khirbet Qeiyafa becomes the first known fortified city in Judah, from the time of King David. The site proves the biblical tradition that in ca. 1000 BC the area had been transferred from tribal communities into a state. In that moment a full page report appeared in the New York Time, in National Geographic Magazine, in Nova program for PBS, and all over the world.
Since 2013 Yossi is excavating at Tel Lachish, the second most important city in Biblical Judah, after Jerusalem. While Khirbet Qeiyafa gave much data on the first half of the 10th century BCE, Lachish can shade light on the later part of the 10th century, and the 9th century BCE.