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Has the Battleground of David and Goliath Finally Been Unearthed?

09-16-2016

Archaeologists believe they have found the ancient city where David battled Goliath.

They found the 3,000-year-old city in Israel's Elah Valley between the biblical cities of Sokho and Azekah, on the border between Philistia and Judah, according to Jewish News Service.

The site, referenced in 1 Samuel 17:1-2, is known by its modern name, Khirbet Qeiyafa.

It has undergone seven years of excavations, and now the public can study what archaeologists unearthed in a new Bible Lands Museum exhibition, "In the Valley of David and Goliath." It opened in Jerusalem earlier this month.

Around 28 charred olive pits discovered during excavations underwent carbon-14 dating. That information shows the city existed in the time of Saul and David, from the end of the 11th century BC to the early 10th century.

Professor Yosef Garfinkel, the Yigal Yadin chair of archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, led the excavations, along with Sa'ar Ganor from the Israel Antiquities Authority and professor Michal Hazel of Southern Adventist University of Tennessee.

Archaeologists discovered at the site the city's two gates -- a western one, which faced Philistia, and a southern one, which faced Judah.

The gates prompted excavators to connect the site with the biblical city of Sha'arayim, which is Hebrew for "two gates." The story of David and Goliath mentions that city in 1 Samuel 17:52, which reads "…And the wounded of the Philistines fell along the road to Shaaraim, even as far as Gath and Ekron." The city is also referenced in Joshua 15:36 and 1 Chronicles 4:31.

Archaeologists also found evidence of Jewish activity at the site, which included thousands of sheep, goat, cow and fish bones, and the absence of non-kosher pig bones, according to Bible Lands curator Yehuda Kaplan.

In addition, excavators discovered casemate walls that reflect the urban planning implemented only by people who lived in Judah and Transjordan.

Garfinkel explained that prior to the rule of King David, residents dwelled in small farming communities. Those areas turned into urban centers around the 11th century BC.

"In this, the biblical tradition has historic memory," Garfinkel said. "If we ask, 'Where is archaeology starting to support biblical tradition?' Khirbet Qeiyafa is the beginning."

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