Khirbet Qeiyafa

 

Khirbet Qeiyafa Vol. 5: Excavation Report 2007–2013, The Numismatic Finds: Coins and Related Objects,

 by Yoav Farhi (with contributions by C. Lorber, S. Shalev and S. Shilstein) Jerusalem, 2016.

Israel Exploration Society

ISBN: 978-965-221-107-1

 

$48 ($36 to members of the Israel Exploration Society). Airmail postage: $22 to USA; $16 to Europe.

 

More than 600 coins and related objects were found at Khirbet Qeiyafa during the 2007–2013 excavation seasons. The earliest coins date from the end of the sixth century BCE and the latest from the British Mandate. These coins almost all relate to three phases in the history of the site following the Iron Age occupation: the Late Persian–Early Hellenistic period (late fourth–early third centuries BCE), the Hasmonaean period up to the destruction of the Second Temple (first century BCE–first century CE) and the Late Roman and Byzantine periods (fourth–fifth centuries CE).

 

The numismatic finds from the Late

Persian–Early Hellenistic period are extraordinary in their amount and rarity and include many types that were hitherto unknown from controlled excavations. The variety of coins that were found – imported Archaic and Classical Greek coins, coins from Phoenicia, local coins from mints in Jerusalem, Philistia, Samaria and possibly Edom, as well as Macedonian and Ptolemaic coins – contributes a great deal to our knowledge of the monetary economy of Judaea and its neighbours during the transition from the Persian to the Hellenistic period.

 

The exposure of this stratum and its numerous small finds is of great significance for the study of the transition from the Persian to the Hellenistic period in this region, since no site exposed so far in Israel in general, or in this region in particular, contains a comparable single-period occupation stratum that can be so precisely dated to this period.

 

Debating Khirbet Qeiyafa: A Fortified City in Judah from the Time of King David, Yosef Garfinkel, Igor Kreimerman and Peter Zilberg

 

In 2007 the name “Khirbet Qeiyafa” was still unknown both to professional archaeologists and to the public. In 2008 Khirbet Qeiyafa became world-famous. This spectacular success is entirely due to the figure of King David, who is so well known from the biblical tradition but is a very elusive figure from the archaeological or historical point of view. Nowhere else had an archaeological layer that can be related to this king been uncovered, not even in Jerusalem. For the first time in the archaeology of Judah, a fortified city from the time of King David had been exposed.

 

The date of the site was obtained by accurate radiometric measurements conducted on short-lived samples of burned olive pits. The location in the Elah Valley, just one day’s walk from Jerusalem, places the site in the core area of the Kingdom of Judah. Moreover, it is exactly in this area and this era that the biblical tradition places the famous combat between the inexperienced and anonymous young shepherd David and the well-equipped giant Philistine warrior Goliath. Khirbet Qeiyafa has become the point of contact between archaeology, biblical studies, ancient history and mythology.

 

The fieldwork at Khirbet Qeiyafa lasted seven seasons, from 2007 to 2013. This book, written at the end of the excavation phase, summarizes the main results, supplies answers to various issues concerning the site that have been raised over the last few years, and presents a comprehensive interim report. The authors use this opportunity to discuss various methodological issues that relate to archaeology and the biblical tradition, and how to combine the two.

 

Khirbet Qeiyafa - Volume I Excavation Report 2007–2008 Yosef Garfinkel and Saar Ganor 324 pages; 21 31 cm., hard cover. Numerous color illustrations. ISBN 978-965-221-077-7

Price: $72 ($54 to IES members). Airmail postage: $13

 

Khirbet Qeiyafa is a 2.3 hectare site surrounded by massive fortifications of megalithic stones that still stand to a height of 2–3 m. It is on the summit of a hill on the north side of the Elah Valley. This is a key strategic location in the biblical Kingdom of Judah, on the main road connecting Philistia and the Coastal Plain to Jerusalem and Hebron in the hill country. The excavations unearthed, for the first time in the archaeological research of Israel, a fortified city in Judah from the late 11th–early 10th centuries BCE. The planning of the city includes the casemate city wall and a belt of houses abutting the casemates and incorporating them as part of the construction. This is a typical feature of planning in the biblical Kingdom of Judah and is known at Beth-Shemesh, Beersheba and other sites. Khirbet Qeiyafa is the earliest known example of this plan and indicates that this pattern had already been developed in the time of King David. The outstanding discovery of the 2008 excavation season was an ostracon, a pottery sherd bearing an inscription, uncovered near the western city gate. This inscription clearly indicates that writing was indeed practiced in Judah during the late 11th– early 10th centuries BCE. Historical knowledge could have been documented then and preserved for generations.