In this first-hand and highly readable account, the excavators of Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Valley of Elah, where the Bible says David fought Goliath, reveal how seven years of exhaustive investigation have uncovered a city dating to the time of David – the late 11th and early 10th century BC – surrounded by massive fortifications with impressive gates, and with a clear urban plan and an abundance of finds that tell us much about the inhabitants, including a pottery sherd with the earliest known Hebrew inscription. The authors clearly describe the methods of the excavation and the evidence they discovered, as well as how we interpret it.
But more than just a simple excavation report, the book also explains the significance of these discoveries and how the site sheds new light on David’s kingdom, as well as forming the unique meeting point between the mythology, history, historiography and archaeology of King David. This topic is at the centre of a controversy that has raged for decades, with some scholars disputing the historicity of the Bible and the chronology of the events recounted in it, an approach that is convincingly challenged here.
'This study … exhibits the virtues of committed scholarship in a land where anger and assertion frequently crowd out careful qualification and a willingness to consider varied arguments'
Diarmaid MacCulloch, London Review of Books
'It is a real pleasure to read an account of an excavation presented as a fascinating detective story and an intellectual adventure … a well-considered and absorbing account'
'A most interesting and instructive book … a very readable, attractively produced work'