Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation ending. Garfinkel’s next dig site is…

The Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation is wrapping up this summer and excavators Yosef Garfinkel and Michael Hasel have just announced their next dig site. The excavation is moving to Lachish. They will proceed with surveying and test pits this summer followed by several years of full excavation seasons beginning in the summer of 2014.

Iron Age gate at Lachish, partially reconstructed. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

Iron Age gate at Lachish, partially reconstructed. Notice how a enemy assaulting the gate is forced to expose his unshielded side to defenders along the wall during his approach. If he succeeded in getting through the outer gate, he would have to turn right and try to force an inner gate, subjecting himself to fire from multiple angles by defenders stationed on the second level and in the towers. The Assyrians knew this and chose to assault the city via an earthen ramp they built against a different part of the wall.. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

Lachish was the second city of Judah during much of Iron IIB – the Divided Kingdom period. It guarded Judah’s southwest border and projected royal power at a fair distance from the capital. The biblical text states that Rehoboam fortified it as part of his building program following the division of the Israelite kingdom.

The ramp constructed by the Assyrians during their siege of Lachish. They succeeded in storming the wall and took the city. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

The ramp constructed by the Assyrians during their siege of Lachish. They succeeded in storming the wall via this ramp and took the city. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

The Assyrian king Sennacherib took Lachish during his late-8th century campaign in the reign of Hezekiah. (2 Kings 18:13ff)His conquest of Lachish (not Jerusalem!) was lavishly displayed in reliefs along his palace walls. These panels can be seen today in the British Museum in London.

Panel from Sennacharib's depiction of the siege of Lachish. Jewsih residents carry their belongings as they leave the captured city for exile. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

Panel from Sennacharib’s depiction of the siege of Lachish. Judahite archers fight against the Assyrians from atop a tower. Jewsih captives are seen carrying their belongings as they leave the captured city via the gate. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

Tel Lachish has been previously excavated, most recently by scholars from Tel Aviv University. This new excavation by the Hebrew and Southern Adventist Universities will seek more information on Judah during the 10th and 9th centuries B.C. (the United and early Divided kingdom periods). There are many archaeological blanks for this period in Judah. This dig will seek to fill them with fresh information.

Lachish is an excellent juncture of the biblical text, extra-biblical historical sources, and archaeology. All three of these converge in the Assyrian destruction by Sennacherib. This new dig there should be exciting, to say the least. Are you ready to participate? You have a year and a half to prepare. Start planning now.

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.
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5 Responses to Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation ending. Garfinkel’s next dig site is…

  1. vanbraman says:

    I was a little confused when I saw the picture and then the title of the post. I knew that this was not Khirbet Qeiyafa. I visited Tel Lachish last summer with Ferrel Jenkins and recognized the picture. This sounds like it will be a good dig. I have Soccoh in the back of my mind, but this might be another option for my first dig.

  2. Byron G. Curtis says:

    I’ve lectured at Tel Lachish several times, and am thrilled that the site is to receive further scientific investigation.

  3. I hope the Lachish dig helps rectify Thiele’s chronology of the Hezekiah period. Assyria’s invasion of Judah is usually dated 701 BCE but I think 710 BCE is more realistic.


    • LukeChandler says:

      The site is still fairly new but I understand there are plans to develop Khirbet Qeiyafa for visitors in the near future. The area is being designated a National Park and should receive signage and better road access. Perhaps your next visit will see these improvements in place.
      Thanks for commenting, and I hope you will enjoy the site in the future.

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