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.
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 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.
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.