Have we found evidence of King David's footprints in the Elah Valley?
The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem open a new and highly anticipated exhibition entitled In the Valley of David and Goliath, publicly displaying important archaeological findings for the very first time.
The exhibition reveals newly unearthed artifacts of this mysterious two-gated city from 3,000 years ago, from a site known only by its modern name of Khirbet Qeiyafa, in the Elah Valley.
These amazing finds have sent the archaeology world into a frenzy by raising many fascinating questions such as: Who were the residents of this two-gated city? Were they Canaanites, Philistines, or perhaps the subjects of King David himself? Have we found the biblical city of Sha'arayim, mentioned in the battle of David and Goliath?
In the Valley of David and Goliath reveals to the public for the very first time findings from the archaeological site in the Elah Valley known today as Khirbet Qeiyafa. Among the exciting artifacts is an intriguing inscription, perhaps the oldest Hebrew writing ever to be discovered.
Other revelations to be displayed for the first time are unusual cultic shrines that were discovered in ritual rooms.
Most significantly, a unique stone carved cultic shrine model decorated with architectural elements that appear to echo the biblical descriptions of King Solomon's Temple and his Palace in Jerusalem.
The city was built between Sokho and Azekah, on the border between the Philistines and the Judeans, in the area identified as the location the battle of David and Goliath.
Carbon14 dating, on charred olive pits excavated from the foundation layers of the site have determined that this city existed between the late 11th century BCE and early 10th century BCE, the beginning of the Kingdom of Israel.
The city was deliberately planned and organized in a manner that pre-dates any other urban structure in this region.
It was surrounded by a massive wall that included two equally large and dominant gates; a very unusual feature for a relatively small city.
When the archaeologists excavated these gates they were reminded of the ancient city of Sha'arayim (literally 'two gates' in Hebrew), from the biblical story of David and Goliath. Historians and archaeologists suspect that the Kingdom of David had spread south, and that the city may have been established as a frontal outpost against the Philistines to control the main road leading the Judean hill country.
It was only populated for a few decades before being destroyed and abandoned under unknown circumstances.
The questions and speculations that arise from the artifacts have sparked debate and intrigued historians and archaeologists since news of the findings was made public.
The dramatic controversy over whether this is the physical evidence and proof of the existence of a Davidic stronghold in the Elah Valley is the subject of academic debate that will captivate audiences for generations to come.
The excavations were conducted for seven seasons from 2007-2013, led by Prof. Yosef Garfinkel, Yigal Yadin Chair of Archaeology at the Institute of Archeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, together with Sa'ar Ganor from the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Prof. Michael Hazel of the Southern Adventist University of Tennessee.
Now, 3,000 years later, we are witnesses to the daily lives of the people; we are able to appreciate their tremendous architectural achievements, their rituals, and also glean insight into the administration of the city, which was obviously controlled by a powerful and well organized political entity.
Nearly all of the findings on display were excavated at the site, including cookware, tools and weapons. In addition, the historic Tel Dan stele –from the 9th century BCE is on loan to the BLMJ. This inscribed stone was originally stationed in the gate of the ancient city of Dan in the Hula Valley. The inscription, in Aramaic, refers to the kingdom of Judah as "Beith David" namely: 'The House of David'. The Tel Dan stele is the only written evidence found to date that verifies the existence of the Kingdom of David.
This fortified, carefully planned city, may indicate the presence of a powerful kingdom in Judah as early as the 10th century BCE. The absence of pig bones, the almost complete lack of typical Philistine pottery, and the possible earliest Hebrew inscription, support the theory that this could not have been a Philistine city.
Pig bones and vast quantities of Philistine pottery were found in excavated Philistine cities such as in Gath, Ashkelon and Ashdod. Prof. Garfinkel believes that the findings prove that this city was founded by King David and can be linked with the biblical city of Sha’arayim.
Who were the residents of this nameless city who abandoned it, never to return? Could they have been the subjects of King David in the earliest days of his kingdom?
Can we truly link this city of two gates – one pointing towards Jerusalem and the other pointing to Philistia, with the biblical city of Sha'arayim?
The exhibition will reveal the remains of the city, its gates, homes, and fascinating artifacts, which will serve as clues and provide insights into our understanding. A tour through the exhibition will walk you through this miraculous city.
Accompanying the displays are simulations of the city, a scale model reconstruction of one of the homes, and artifacts reflecting every element of daily life.
Free with Museum admission
Sunday - Friday English 10:30 Am , Hebrew 11:00 Am
Additional tour on Wednesdays English 17:30 Pm , Hebrew 18:00 Pm
Saturday Hebrew 11:30 Am
Reserve tours in additional languages and groups in advance: email@example.com
Visit the exhibition with our new apps:
You can now download our free app and discover the BLMJ in a whole new and cool way.
An original composition for harp, cello and pecussion inspired by the exhibition "In the Valley of David and Goliath", created by Rali Margalit.
Ideal for groups, when booking performances together with a visit to the exhibition.
For Further details: firstname.lastname@example.org
We invite you to watch and get a glimps of part of the composition.
Photography and Editing: Lior Ben-Shabat
A personal audio guide especially designed for children and adolescents for our bran new exhibition, In the Valley of David and Goliath.
Tour the Exhibition with the Curators:
See the new exhibition through the eyes of curators: Yehuda Kaplan and Oree Meiri , to hear their personal perspectives in a special behind the scenes tour:
Friday | October 7,2016 | 11:00 | Yehuda Kaplan,BLMJ Curator | Hebrew
Wednesday | Octuber 26,2016 | 19:30 | Yehuda Kaplan | BLMJ Curator | English
For Further information
Articles And Reviews:
IBA news at the exhibition(click on link)
3,000 year old treasures dated to the time of King David unveiled
King David-era battle comes to life in new museum exhibition
Model shrine stone
Courtesy of the israel Antiquities Authority
Credit: Museum PR
Charred olive pits
Credit: Museum PR