The Khirbet Qeiyafa and Tel Burna excavations have begun, and are already yielding interesting things.
One of the excavators at Khirbet Qeiyafa (and a friend of mine) posted the following on his FaceBook page:
“Archaeology season has begun! Excavating at Khirbet Qeiyafa and supervising a great team of students and volunteers – this year about 100 on our expedition. May have reached Iron Age (Biblical period) architecture already today on the first day of excavating. We don’t do this because the pay is so good, but because there is nothing like digging up ancient stuff buried for 1000s of years.”
Khirbet Qeiyafa has been identified as the biblical city of Shaaraim, mentioned towards the end of 1 Samuel 17 in the account of David and Goliath. It is currently the only known fortified Judahite city that dates to David’s reign. Lord willing, I’ll be over there joining the fun in three more weeks.
The Tel Burna team uncovered some Iron Age fortifications and found part of an oil lamp on their first day. Tel Burna is a candidate for the biblical city of Libnah. Libnah was conquered by Joshua. Later it served as a city of refuge, but was also involved in a revolt against Jehoram, king of Judah. It will be interesting to see if the excavation yields evidence for its identification. Check out the Tel Burna blog for photos and commentary about Day One.