Two large structures - one said to be monarch’s palace; the other a royal storeroom — which have not previously
been found in the Kingdom of Judah (10 BC), were uncovered by researchers of the Hebrew University and the
Israel Antiquities Authority.
The place of discovery is Khirbet Qeiyafa - a fortified city in Judah, located 30 km southwest of Jerusalem and dated
to the time of King David and identified with the biblical city of Shaarayim.
The excavation, which lasted seven years, gives evidence to state building and administrative organization during the
time of King David.
An aerial picture of David’s palace and the Byzantine farmhouse. Photograph: Sky
View, courtesy of the Hebrew University and the Israel Antiquities Authority
"The ruins are the best example to date of the uncovered fortress city of King David," researchers Prof. Yossi
Garfinkel and Saar Ganors said.
"This is indisputable proof of the existence of a central authority in Judah during the time of King David," the
According to the archeologists, 'Khirbet Qeiyafa' - probably destroyed in a battle against the Philistines in 980 BC -
is the first early Judean city to be dated by 14C.
"This is unequivocal evidence of a kingdom’s existence, which knew to establish administrative centers at
strategic points”, the archaeologists say.
"To date no palaces have been found that can clearly be ascribed to the early tenth century BCE as we can do now.
Khirbet Qeiyafa was probably destroyed in one of the battles that were fought against the Philistines circa 980 BCE."
In this area one of the world's most famous battles took place, the battle between David and Goliath.
The southern part of a large palace that extended across an area of c. 1,000 sq m was revealed at the top of the city.
The wall enclosing the palace is c. 30 m long and an impressive entrance is fixed it through which one descended to
the southern gate of the city, opposite the Valley of Elah.
Finds from the site. Photographic Credit: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
In the ruins of the palace, researchers found various installations were found - evidence of a metal industry,
special pottery vessels and fragments of alabaster vessels that were imported from Egypt.
From here one has an excellent vantage looking out into the distance, from as far as the Mediterranean Sea in
the west to the Hebron Mountains and Jerusalem in the east. This is an ideal location from which to send messages
by means of fire signals.
Unfortunately, much of this palace was destroyed c. 1,400 years later when a fortified farmhouse was built
there in the Byzantine period".
This is a key strategic location in the biblical Kingdom of Judah, on the main road from Philistia and the
Coastal Plain to Jerusalem and Hebron in the hill country.
The city was constructed on bedrock, 2.3 hectares in area, surrounded by massive fortifications of megalithic stones.
Five seasons of excavation were carried out in 2007-2011, five areas of the site (Areas A-E) were examined, and
nearly 20% of the city has been uncovered.
Aerial picture of site Photo: Sky View, courtesy of Hebrew University and Israel Antiquities Authority
The expedition excavated 200 m of the city wall, two gates, a pillar
building and 10 houses.
The city came to an end in a sudden destruction, as indicated by hundreds of restorable pottery vessels, stone
utensils and metal objects left on the floors of the houses.
Very rich assemblages of pottery, stone tools and metal objects were found, as well as many cultic objects,
scarabs, seals and the most famous Khirbet Qeiyafa ostracon, an inscription written with ink on a pottery sherd.
The recent excavations also revealed fragments of a special alabaster stone imported from Egypt.