Where Exactly Was Khirbet Qeiyafa’s Ostracon Discovered? (Photos)

This post is in response to a comment left by Michael Grisanti on my post from January 12th. That entry featured some excellent aerial photographs of Khirbet Qeiyafa at the end of the 2011 dig season, particularly of Area C along the southern portion of the site.

Michael asked where the Qeiyafa ostracon was discovered. It was found in the 2008 dig season in a room near the Area B gate, on the western side of the site facing Tel Azekah.

Khirbet Qeiyafa at the end of 2011, with Area B marked along the western side. The Qeiyafa ostracon was unearthed just to the north (left) of the gate. Photo courtesy of the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation.

A closer view of Areas B and D at Khirbet Qeiyafa. Area D is everything to the south (right) of the gate. The yellow arrow indicates the spot in Area B where the ostracon was discovered, two rooms north of the gate. Photo courtesy of the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation.

The ostracon was excavated in the morning of July 15, 2008. It came from a level dated to Iron IIA, around the early 10th century B.C. When the ink inscription was recognized that afternoon arrangements were immediately made to transport the ostracon to the Hebrew University’s lab in Jerusalem for cleaning and analysis. Dr. Haggai Misgav, the epigrapher who first analyzed the inscription, determined it to be Hebrew written in what he initially called a “Proto-Canaanite” script. A number of letters are fully faded, making translation very difficult. (Here are posts dating back to the ostracon’s discovery, a short video of an initial analysis, Misgav’s initial translation, and an alternative translation that depends heavily on reconstructed letters.) Scholars are still divided on the translation of the inscription.

Area B (from the bottom to the gate area) at Khirbet Qeiyafa, looking south. The arrow marks the spot where the ostracon was found in 2008. Photo courtesy of the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation.

The view out of the Area B (western) gate of Qeiyafa, with Tel Azekah prominent in the background. The ostracon was discovered in a room adjoining the second casemate to the right, just outside of this photo. Photo by Luke Chandler.

For some reason I do not have a good close-up photo of the actual room. Hopefully the photos I’ve posted here will help anyone visiting the site to identify where the ostracon was discovered.


About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister with the North Terrace Church of Christ and has participated in multiple archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke leads informative, meaningful tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
This entry was posted in 2011 Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation, Inscriptions and Manuscripts, Khirbet Qeiyafa, New Discoveries and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Where Exactly Was Khirbet Qeiyafa’s Ostracon Discovered? (Photos)

  1. Michael Grisanti says:

    Thanks so much!!

  2. Thomas Middlebrook says:

    Garfinkel’s 2008 ASOR powerpoint is running around out there in PDF form. It has a photo and drawing of the second building north of the western gate, where the ostracon was found (for those wanting a better look).

  3. lukechandler says:

    Thanks for mentioning that, Thomas. Garfinkel’s presentation summaries from 2007 through 2011 can be found here: http://qeiyafa.huji.ac.il/reports.asp

    Scroll about halfway down the page to find them.

  4. Pingback: Sources for Video on Qeiyafa « Against Jebel al-Lawz

  5. Hi Luke, thanks for the article and photos on where the ostracon was found. I am a former ACU graduate and currently teach at Calvary Chapel Bible College in York, England. I have borrowed the top picture (aerial shot) of Khirbet Qeiyafa for my blog. I want to introduce my readers to this site and what has been learned from its discovery. I will see that the proper credit is given. I’m curious as to whether you were involved in excavating this site? If you’d like to check out my blog in the future I can be found at http://www.biblestudywithrandy.com Thanks so much, God bless!
    Randy McCracken

    • lukechandler says:

      Hello Randy,
      I did indeed work at Khirbet Qeiyafa over five consecutive seasons (2009-2013). I will be working this year with the new expedition at Tel Lachish. Thanks for getting in touch. You blog looks nice. I look forward to seeing what you post about Qeiyafa.
      Very best wishes,

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