Here is an update on my experiences with the 2011 Khirbet Qeiyafa dig.
We have made good progress in our square, with some interesting discoveries during the past two days. We should learn more when we work at the site tomorrow, but these finds are interesting. Some details below:
Quick Qeiyafa primer: For those not yet up to speed, Khirbet Qeiyafa is the Arabic name for an ancient city located along the valley where David killed Goliath. The excavators believe it to be Sha’araim, mentioned in 1 Samuel 17:52. The city dates to the late-11th or early-10th century B.C., around the time of King David’s reign over Judah and Israel, but seems to have been destroyed in an attack around one generation later. The inhabitants appear to have been Israelites based on several arguments including 1) architectural similarities with other cities in Judah, 2) an inscription which numerous scholars believe to be Hebrew, 3) and the inhabitants’ diet (no pig bones discovered after four seasons of excavation = keeping kosher?). The destroyed city was abandoned for 7 centuries until Alexander the Great came through, inaugurating the “Hellenistic” period. A new city was built and existed for around 70 years +/- in the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. The city was peacefully abandoned and has remained in ruins ever since, with only occasional dwellings on the site.
My current square in photos:
One more thing… a mostly-intact bronze bowl, possibly dating from the Iron Age, was discovered yesterday just a couple of squares over from mine. It may have been hidden intentionally (possibly during an attack?) since it was discovered in a hard-to-reach place. Such an item was valuable in ancient times, and some bowls have inscriptions. Does ours have an inscription? We don’t yet know but should fairly soon. I have a photo of it in situ and will post it
if archaeologists permit very soon.