Ongoing archaeological finds from Khirbet Qeiyafa in ancient Judah now show conclusively that the site had fortified walls with gates, administrative buildings, bronze and iron objects, and artifacts suggesting extensive trade with foreign powers.  These discoveries cast doubt on the “minimalist” chronology of some liberal scholars who claim that King David, even if he existed, was a tribal chief over pastoralists.

Todd Bolen at Bible Places Blog has summarized the major finds.  The full report on the Israeli Antiquities Authority website by Yossi Garfinkel et al. tells how the goal of the 4th and 5th excavation seasons last year was to identify Iron Age IIA features of the fortress city south of Jerusalem that has been radiometrically dated to the late 11th and early 10th centuries BC – the time of David and Solomon.

Khirbet Qeiyafa received international press in 2008 with the discovery of a pottery inscription from that period (11/16/2008, 1/07/2010).  Although the new report does not mention inscriptions, the findings are suggestive of a complex civilization during the time of David:

The lower stratum, from Iron Age IIA, dates to the late eleventh–early tenth centuries BCE. The remains of this settlement, uncovered to date, included two gates, two gate plazas, twenty-eight casemates (twenty complete), ten residential buildings and remains of administrative buildings at the top of the site. Large quantities of artifacts were discovered on the floors of the houses in each area, including hundreds of pottery vessels that can be restored, hundreds of stone objects, dozens of metallic objects and small finds. It is obvious that this stratum was suddenly destroyed. Much evidence was found of ritual activity, including mazzevot, a cultic chamber, models of temples (two of ceramic and one of stone) and a figurine….

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