I intend to focus on the archaeological evidence which exists for David, his kingdom and other biblical references which are connected with David in subsequent Nuggets. Several of you have asked where I get my material from. I have a large range of resources gathered over years related to evidence or discussion connected with the biblical text. They are derived from a number of magazines and periodicals such as Creation-ex-nihilo, Creation Magazine and the Biblical Archeological Review to keep me up with the field of the latest biblical findings and research as well as a wide range of books in my library which provide me with background on Biblical archaeology. Plus I am on a watch list for news worthy articles on Bible related topics. In addition to that my friend Merv Tucker, who is an avid collector of news items related to Israel and the Bible, flicks me links and has loaned me some of his books to use in writing these Nuggets for your benefit.
Archaeologists have uncovered what they believe may be King David’s Palace in the Judean Shephelah. Royal storerooms were also revealed in the joint archaeological excavation of the Hebrew University and the Israel Antiquities Authority at Khirbet Qeiyafa. These are the two largest buildings known to have existed in the tenth century BCE in the Kingdom of Judah.
The two royal public buildings, the likes of which have not previously been found in the Kingdom of Judah of the tenth century BCE, were uncovered in 2013 by researchers of the Hebrew University and the Israel Antiquities Authority at Khirbet Qeiyafa — a fortified city in Judah dating to the time of King David and identified with the biblical city of Shaarayim. One of the buildings is identified by the researchers, Professor Yossi Garfinkel of the Hebrew University and Saar Ganor of the Israel Antiquities Authority, as David’s palace, and the other structure served as an enormous royal storeroom.
According to Professor Yossi Garfinkel and Sa’ar Ganor, “Khirbet Qeiyafa is the best example exposed to date of a fortified city from the time of King David. The southern part of a large palace that extended across an area of approximately 1,000 m2 was revealed at the top of the city. The wall enclosing the palace is approximately 30 m long and an impressive entrance is fixed to it through which one descended to the southern gate of the city, opposite the Valley of Elah. Around the palace’s perimeter were rooms in which various installations were found — evidence of a metal industry, special pottery vessels and fragments of alabaster vessels that were imported from Egypt.
The palace is located in the centre of the site and controls all of the houses lower than it in the city. From here one has an excellent vantage looking out into the distance, from as far as the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Hebron Mountains and Jerusalem in the east. This is an ideal location from which to send messages by means of fire signals. Unfortunately, much of this palace was destroyed around 1,400 years later when a fortified farmhouse was built there in the Byzantine period.”
A pillared building approximately 15 m long by 6 m wide was exposed in the north of the city, which was used as an administrative storeroom. According to the researchers, “It was in this building the kingdom stored taxes it received in the form of agricultural produce collected from the residents of the different villages in the Judean Shephelah. Hundreds of large store jars were found at the site whose handles were stamped with an official seal as was customary in the Kingdom of Judah for centuries.”
The palace and storerooms are evidence of state sponsored construction and an administrative organization during King David’s reign. “This is unequivocal evidence of a kingdom’s existence, which knew to establish administrative centres at strategic points,” the archaeologists say. “To date no palaces have been found that can clearly be ascribed to the early tenth century BCE as we can do now. Khirbet Qeiyafa was probably destroyed in one of the battles that were fought against the Philistines circa 980 BCE. The palace that is now being revealed and the fortified city that was uncovered in recent years are another tier in understanding the beginning of the Kingdom of Judah.”
The exposure of the biblical city at Khirbet Qeiyafa and the importance of the finds discovered there have led the Israel Antiquities Authority to act together with the Nature and Parks Authority and the planning agencies to cancel the intended construction of a new neighbourhood nearby and to promote declaring the area around the site a national park. This plan stems from the belief that the site will quickly become a place that will attract large numbers of visitors who will be greatly interested in it, and from it one will be able to learn about the culture of the country at the time of King David.
Source: Israel Antiquities Authority July 21, 2013