Tel Aviv University recently began a new dig at Tel Azekah, literally next door to Khirbet Qeiyafa. The substantial discoveries at Qeiyafa have produced fresh interest in the Shephelah (Judean foothills) and new digs are popping up in the region.
The first week at Azekah overlapped with the last week at Qeiyafa. We could see some of the new work areas from my square at Qeiyafa, as you can see below.
Barnea Selevan is part of the excavation team and is blogging the activities and results at the Tel Azekah Expedition. Be sure to note the progressing Scorpion Count in the first week. Even after a couple of disappointing-yet-humorous setbacks they appear to have made good progress in uncovering ancient architecture and finds.
Azekah is mentioned several times in the Bible:
- The book of Joshua records fighting in the vicinity of Azekah during the Conquest. (Josh. 10)
- The city was originally allotted to the tribe of Judah (Josh. 15:20-35ff). It turned out to be a border city/fortress throughout much of Israelite Kingdom period.
- The Philistines encamped between Azekah and Socoh during the “David and Goliath” confrontation. (1 Sam. 17)
- It was one of the last cities to fall to Nebuchadnezzar during the Babylonian conquest of Judah. (Jer. 34:6-7)
- Nehemiah lists Azekah as one of the places resettled following the Babylonian Exile. (Neh. 11:25-30ff)
King Sennacherib of Assyria described Azekah as “an eagle’s nest with towers that project to the sky like swords.” Considering the size of the hill, this description would not be surprising.
We’re looking forward to seeing the results over the next several years.