New Israeli National Park for Khirbet Qeiyafa, Elah Valley

The Jerusalem Post reports on plans for the Elah Valley, famous for the fight between David and Goliath.

The northern portion of the approved area is particularly important on an archeological and historical level due to the presence of Khirbat Qeiyafa, an ancient city and fortress overlooking the Ela Valley, the Interior Ministry said. Excavated recently, the site is of great importance for understanding the biblical period – identified by researchers as Sha’arayim, mentioned in the story of David and Goliath, according to the ministry.

The new park is being established in an area under pressure from urban expansion to the north and oil shale fracking in the Ela[h] Valley to the south. These development projects have recently been modified to preserve space around the new park.

View showing the designated border of the new Elah Valley national park in Israel. "North" is to the right. (Photo courtesy of INPA)

View showing the designated border of the new Elah Valley national park in Israel. “North” is to the right. For some reason, the Jerusalem Post article used this image that cuts off the top (western) border of the park area, where Khirbet Qeiyafa is located. (Photo courtesy of INPA)

I was privileged to have worked with the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation over five seasons. It is the only known site in modern Israel whose construction dates to the early days of the biblical United Kingdom (Saul, David). The surrounding area was a strategic border location that saw numerous battles, including the famous incident with Goliath.

Menachem Fried of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority noted the site of Kh. Qeiyafa.

“Qeiyafa is a very special site,” Fried told the Post. “It really has barely changed since the biblical period.”

The park will involve minimal development, including just signs, a few pedestrian and cycling paths and maybe a small theater, Fried added.

Read the full article here.

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Aerial view of Khirbet Qeiyafa looking south over the Elah Valley. The new National Park zone extends to the left (east) of this site. (Photo courtesy of the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation)

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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 in English and Spanish with the North Terrace Church of Christ and participates annually in archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke also leads tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
This entry was posted in Bible Geography, Biblical Archaeology, Interesting places to visit, Israel, Khirbet Qeiyafa and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to New Israeli National Park for Khirbet Qeiyafa, Elah Valley

  1. Al Sandalow says:

    Luke, I’m taking a tour group to Israel next year and hope to be able to do a site visit here. Any suggestions or insight for that? How close you get a tour bus to the site?

    • lukechandler says:

      The site is accessible from route 38 going south from Beth Shemesh. It’s a dirt road and bumpy at that, but I’ve seen buses make it up to a short walk from the city walls.

      Ido Garfinkel, son of the chief archaeologist at the site, is a licensed tour guide who specializes in Qeiyafa. You can get in touch with him at IdoGarfinkel@hotmail.com.

      Best wishes,
      Luke

  2. I posted words and pictures about the site of Khirbet Qeiyafa on my blog at http://israel-tourguide.info/2011/09/20/khirbet-qeiyafa/ (I also guide the site).

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