Things learned from Yossi Garfinkel’s presentations in Tampa

We enjoyed a pleasant visit from Yossi Garfinkel Tuesday evening on the Florida College campus. He gave a lecture on Khirbet Qeiyafa to a full auditorium plus a summary of the first Tel Lachish season for a private dinner group. Here are a few interesting updates from his presentations:

  • As mentioned before, volume II of the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation report is out. (I already have my copy.) Six more Qeiyafa volumes are scheduled to be published in the near future.
  • A second inscription from Qeiyafa (discovered in the 2012 season) is the subject of an article submitted a few months ago to one of the peer-reiewed journals. Word on its publication is still pending.
  • There is a third inscription from Qeiyafa (Hershel Shanks was right) that will be published in Kh. Qeiyafa Vol. 4..
  • A few new inscriptions were discovered at Lachish at the 2014 season. The expedition has begun work on their publication.
  • The 2014 excavation at Lachish found a candidate city wall for the elusive Level 5. (The character and date of the level 5 city are currently disputed.) The dating of this wall shall be ascertained over the next couple of excavation seasons.

Yossi Garfinkel is now in San Diego to present on both Qeiyafa and Lachish at Thursday’s ASOR sessions.

Yossi Garfinkel presenting on Khirbet Qeiyafa at Florida College in Temple Terrace, FL. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

Yossi Garfinkel presenting on Khirbet Qeiyafa at Florida College in Temple Terrace, FL. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

We had a special cake for his reception at Florida College. How much detail can you notice? Feel free to zoom in and investigate.

How much detail can you make out from the "excavation" on top of this cake? The inside had three strata plus a "burn layer" of crushed Oreo cookies. (Photo by Melanie Chandler)

How much detail can you make out from the “excavation” on top of this cake? The inside had three strata plus a “burn layer” of crushed Oreo cookies. (Photo by Melanie Chandler)

Posted in 2012 Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation, 2014 Tel Lachish excavation, archaeologists, Biblical Archaeology, Inscriptions and Manuscripts, Khirbet Qeiyafa, Lachish, New Discoveries, Publications & Study Materials, Speaking engagements | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Khirbet Qeiyafa Excavation Report, Vol. II now available

The second published volume of the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation has just come off the press. It should be available any day now through the Israel Exploration Society.

Cover for Khirbet Qeiyafa, Volume II.

Cover for the Khirbet Qeiyafa Excavation Report, Volume II.

Additional volumes from the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavations are due in the near future.

Posted in 2009 Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation, 2010 Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation, 2011 Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation, 2012 Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation, 2013 Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation, Khirbet Qeiyafa, Publications & Study Materials | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Yossi Garfinkel giving presentation near Tampa, Florida

Prof. Yossi Garfinkel will be at Florida College in Temple Terrace, FL, next Tuesday (Nov. 18th) to give a presentation on the archaeological finds from Khirbet Qeiyafa in Israel. This event is part of the school’s Life Enrichment program and is free and open to the public.

This is the excavation I was with for five years. Several Florida College faculty and alumni worked at Khirbet Qeiyafa under Prof. Garfinkel. The site is located along the Elah Valley where David fought Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. Its finds have recharged scholarly debates over David and the existence/character of an early Israelite kingdom. If you are interested in the Bible or in biblical history, this presentation is a must.

The presentation begins at 7:30pm in Puckett Auditorium on the FC campus.

Prof. Yossi Garfinkel describing a gate complex at Khirbet Qeiyafa. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

Prof. Yossi Garfinkel describing a gate complex at Khirbet Qeiyafa. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

Yossi Garfinkel and Yours Truly at Khirbet Qeiyafa. (Photo by Royce Chandler)

Yossi Garfinkel and Yours Truly in front of ancient fortifications at Khirbet Qeiyafa. (Photo by Royce Chandler)


Posted in archaeologists, Biblical Archaeology, Conference, General Archaeology, Israel, Khirbet Qeiyafa | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunrise over the Sea of Galilee

Internet service was problematic for most of the trip and prohibited me from connecting to this blog. I am in the airport waiting my flight home, and finally have a reliable connection. I will post information from the trip once I am home. This visit to the Bible Lands was fantastic.

Here is one of my favorite photos from early in the trip. It shows sunrise over the Sea of Galilee as viewed from my hotel in Tiberias.

Sunrise over the Sea of Galilee in late October, 2014. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

Sunrise over the Sea of Galilee in late October, 2014. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

Posted in 2014 Bible Lands Tour, Bible Lands tour, Galilee, Overseas trips | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Overlooking a Biblical Battleground

One of our visits yesterday was to the traditional site of Elijah’s contest with Baal on Mount Carmel. This location for the contest is probably correct and offers a wide view of the Jezreel valley. The valley has an intense military history – no less than 34 separate battles have taken place here, and those are just the ones we know about. For 35 centuries of military history, (the 15th century BC to the 20th century AD), every invader of Canaan has had to secure the route through this valley. It is the only way by which one can travel north-south in Canaan without having to climb mountains.

This photo shows the hill of Moreh (left) and Mount Gilboa (right) as viewed from Mount Carmel. This view is looking east. If you traveled straight ahead between these hills, you would quickly reach the Jordan River.

(Photo by Luke Chandler)

A portion of the Jezreel Valley viewed from Mount Carmel. The hill of Moreh is on the left and Mount Gilboa on the right. Famous events involving Gideon, King Sau, Elisha, Jehu, and Jezebel occurred on/between these two hills. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

Biblical battles took place on/between these mountains. Gideon chose his 300 men by a spring at the foot of Mount Gilboa and crossed to the left to fight the Midianites by Mount Moreh. Saul faced the Philistines here (their camp was by Mount Moreh) and killed himself on Mount Gilboa. Jehu also rode up between these hills to Jezreel (by Mount Gilboa) to assassinate King Joram along with his mother, Queen Jezebel.

Not all of the biblical history here was bloody. A married couple by Mount Moreh (left) added a room onto their house for the prophet Elisha. He could deal with Israelite kings and officials by day in Jezreel (right) and cross back over to his private Bed & Breakfast by Mount Moreh to enjoy the evening.

It continues to strike me how close together things are in this land. One is never far from multiple historic places, both biblical and non-biblical.

Today we enjoyed visiting sites around the Sea of Galilee. The weather has been great and everyone is doing wonderfully. Internet permitting (it wasn’t last night!) I will keep posting updates on our tour. Very best wishes, and please check back soon.

Posted in 2014 Bible Lands Tour, Ancient Battles, Bible Geography, Bible Lands tour, Israel, Philistines, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

In Israel for a long-planned Bible Lands tour

My group arrived safely in Israel today for a Bible Lands tour. We will spend the next week visiting biblical places and soaking in the history and culture of the land. No digging this time! We are here to experience, learn, observe, know, and connect with many remarkable places where Bible events occurred.

Our direct flight from New York was smooth and more restful than expected. We are spending tonight by the Mediterranean Sea, straight up the coast from Tel Aviv. The hotel is very nice and provided an excellent dinner that just made everyone feel happy. We plan to continue our experience tomorrow morning with visits to Caesarea and Megiddo, among other sites. I will post photos and updates as we continue. For now, it’s off to bed!

Posted in 2014 Bible Lands Tour, Israel, Overseas trips, Travel | Tagged , | 1 Comment

New Israeli National Park for Khirbet Qeiyafa, Elah Valley

The Jerusalem Post reports on plans for the Elah Valley, famous for the fight between David and Goliath.

The northern portion of the approved area is particularly important on an archeological and historical level due to the presence of Khirbat Qeiyafa, an ancient city and fortress overlooking the Ela Valley, the Interior Ministry said. Excavated recently, the site is of great importance for understanding the biblical period – identified by researchers as Sha’arayim, mentioned in the story of David and Goliath, according to the ministry.

The new park is being established in an area under pressure from urban expansion to the north and oil shale fracking in the Ela[h] Valley to the south. These development projects have recently been modified to preserve space around the new park.

View showing the designated border of the new Elah Valley national park in Israel. "North" is to the right. (Photo courtesy of INPA)

View showing the designated border of the new Elah Valley national park in Israel. “North” is to the right. For some reason, the Jerusalem Post article used this image that cuts off the top (western) border of the park area, where Khirbet Qeiyafa is located. (Photo courtesy of INPA)

I was privileged to have worked with the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation over five seasons. It is the only known site in modern Israel whose construction dates to the early days of the biblical United Kingdom (Saul, David). The surrounding area was a strategic border location that saw numerous battles, including the famous incident with Goliath.

Menachem Fried of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority noted the site of Kh. Qeiyafa.

“Qeiyafa is a very special site,” Fried told the Post. “It really has barely changed since the biblical period.”

The park will involve minimal development, including just signs, a few pedestrian and cycling paths and maybe a small theater, Fried added.

Read the full article here.


Aerial view of Khirbet Qeiyafa looking south over the Elah Valley. The new National Park zone extends to the left (east) of this site. (Photo courtesy of the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation)

Posted in Bible Geography, Biblical Archaeology, Interesting places to visit, Israel, Khirbet Qeiyafa | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Conference on Khirbet Qeiyafa in Bern, Switzerland

In case any of this blog’s readers can attend, there is a conference on Khirbet Qeiyafa this Saturday, September 6th, at the University of Bern. Speakers include Professors Yossi Garfinkel, Aren Maeir, Thomas Römer, Dr. Stefan Münger, Silvia Schroer, and Benjamin Sass.

The detailed schedule is on this flyer.


Aerial view of Khirbet Qeiyafa from the north with the Valley of Elah in the background. The city’s construction dates to Israel’s early United Kingdom, ca. 1000 BC. Evidence suggests this may be a Judahite city dating to the time of Saul or David’s governments. (Photo by Sky View, courtesy of the IAA)

HT: Todd Bolen

Posted in Biblical Archaeology, Conference, General Archaeology, Khirbet Qeiyafa | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Presentation on Tel Lachish Excavation near Tampa, FL

For anyone in the Tampa area, I will be making a presentation this Sunday evening (Aug. 17th) at 5:30pm on the archaeological excavations at Tel Lachish. See what was discovered in this biblical city and how it may illuminate our understanding of ancient Canaan.

This presentation is at the North Terrace Church of Christ in Temple Terrace, FL. (Click here for driving directions.) All are welcome!

Posted in 2014 Tel Lachish excavation, Lachish, Speaking engagements | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Explorations in Antiquity Center near Atlanta planning major expansion

The Explorations in Antiquity Center in LaGrange, Georgia, has announced plans for a major expansion onto adjacent land. Dr. Jim Fleming, a scholar who has lived and worked in the Bible Lands, founded this museum to “help people experience the ancient biblical world, its history and culture.”

An illustration of the planned expansion is visible here. Check out the “Walkable relief model” (labeled #17) that appears to be a multi-acre physical relief map of the Galilee. For those who have visited the center previously, note that areas 1 through 7 on the linked illustration comprise the current museum. The upcoming expansion will increase the size of the museum area by several times.

I visited the Explorations in Antiquity Center in 2010 with a group of young people from the Tampa area. Our group enjoyed an informative tour of the archeological gardens and filled up on the “biblical meal” for lunch. New exhibits have opened since that time, including a gallery with 250 genuine artifacts on long-term loan from the Israel Antiquities Authority. I am hoping for an opportunity to go back and see the new areas.

This is a must-see for people interested in the ancient biblical world. This museum provides experiences that bring the Bible to life and illuminate the words we read. Go ahead and Like the center’s Facebook page to receive news and updates.

Demonstration of an olive press at the Explorations in Antiquity Center. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

Demonstration of an olive press at the Explorations in Antiquity Center. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

Posted in archaeologists, Bible Geography, Biblical Archaeology, Galilee, Interesting places to visit, Links to interesting stuff, Museums | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment