Southern Adventist University’s Institute of Archaeology joined the excavation team at Khirbet Qeiyafa this summer.  Their recent DigSight newsletter includes photographs and a description of their experiences and future plans.  You can read the newsletter online here.  I’ll just make a few observations, primarily because there has been almost no other news from the Qeiyafa excavations this year.  That may be related to an inability to decipher the ostracon, could suggest there is some great discovery yet to be reported, or more likely is the result of a rather regular season, without any dramatic news like last year.  Archaeology is, after all, 99% physical labor, data collection, and laboratory analysis.  The best “finds” come out of the synthesis of the data, when a site’s history and culture is accurately understood. In brief, some things I noted in the newsletter:

  • Dr. Michael G. Hasel, director of SAU’s Institute of Archaeology is associate director of the KQ excavation.
  • The team is planning to work at KQ until 2012 when they will begin their own excavations under the umbrella of the Elah Valley Regional Project.
  • The gate that Yosef Garfinkel visually identified last fall was excavated and it is apparently still identified as a gate.  (This is significant because it is a second gate at the site.)
  • The Hellenistic settlement is immediately preceded by Iron IIa floors upon which were “almost complete restorable vessels, including a lamp, chalice, and large storage jars with thumbprint impressions.” 
  • The casemate wall rests on bedrock, “indicating without a doubt that the massive wall system associated with the western gate does in fact date to the early tenth century B.C., despite recent opposing suggestions by some scholars.”
  • Garfinkel’s lecture at the Institute on November 17 is entitled, “Excavating the Biblical City of Sha’arayim.”  He apparently has not changed his identification of the site since last year.
  • Garfinkel’s ASOR lecture (11/19)  is a double session, entitled “Khirbet Qeiyafa: A Fortified City in Judah from the Time of King David.”  See a full list of related lectures at Luke Chandler’s blog.

The newsletter has more, including opportunities for the general public and a way to subscribe to the newsletter.