I have sat on this discovery since July of 2010, waiting for the excavators’ permission to post on this remarkable find from Khirbet Qeiyafa.
It was a typical late morning at the Qeiyafa dig on July 20. We had progressed past a Hellenistic level and into the 10th century B.C. (Iron IIa) level when Royce Chandler (my father) made a truly unique find for the second year in a row.
He uncovered part of a refined metal object in Area C that did not match the iron and bronze artifacts found in other squares. Royce notified the square supervisor and continued to excavate. It soon became apparent that Prof. Garfinkel should be summoned immediately. This artifact had no precedent in ancient Levantine material culture.
This is the first provenanced Iron Age wheelbarrow discovered in the Levant. Our understanding of Israelite metallurgy in Iron IIa has so far been limited to small weapons and an occasional trinket. This find looks to rewrite textbooks on the period.
One may ask why this discovery was not announced earlier, especially during the Fall meetings in Atlanta (ASOR, SBL, et al.) The truth is that the archaeological team wanted to be careful with its research on what is an unprecedented find. No doubt Tel Aviv scholars would insist that the wheelbarrow dates no earlier than the mid-9th century B.C. No reason to add fuel to an already blazing fire.
Ironically, I was given permission to post this discovery on April 1st. Interesting choice of day.