An archaeology team from Southern Adventist University, under the direction of Michael Hasel, Ph.D., this year concludes a three-year excavation project that uncovered new discoveries. The excavation is being conducted in partnership with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem under the directorship of Yosef Garfinkel, a leading archaeologist in modern Israel. A group of 50 from Southern are currently in the field excavating at Khirbet Qeiyafa, the biblical site of Shaarayim (1 Samuel 17:52).
This archaeological site is presumably the location of the historic battle between David and Goliath and has recently been a topic of much scholarly debate between those denying the historical existence of the kingdom of David as described in the Bible and biblical scholars who uphold the historicity of David. CNN has featured this controversy in a recent report with footage that includes Southern Adventist University volunteers.
The site is visited daily by eminent Bible scholars and tourists from around the world who are interested in the ongoing excavations and their historic significance. Professor Garfinkel believes that Khirbet Qeiyafa, along with Hebron and Jerusalem, were key cities in the Davidic administration. Unearthed evidence indicates that the site was fortified and occupied during the Iron Age period, which corresponds to the time period of the biblical David. Proponents of the minimalist school continue to contest the dating of the occupation levels at Khirbet Qeiyafa.
Although dig participants say that new architectural features are coming to light on a daily basis, the interpretation of the site and its objects is still tentative. “This season’s excavation has attracted major attention for the important buildings excavated from the time of Alexander the Great and the special finds from the time of David,” says Hasel. “Biblical history and prophecy become tangible and real in the 21st century.”
Photo: Volunteer Joliann Penn, Senior at Southern Adventist University, with a thumb-imprinted Hellenistic jar-handle
Photo taken by Florian Hasel