I am no archaeologist. I’m not even a true historian. I’m just a simple seminarian. But the recent findings at Khirbet Qeiyafa are potentially staggering. What an exciting find. For the details see the NY Times article, the official website, and a couple of posts by John Hobbins, here and here. The gist of the find is this: a recently discovered 10th century BCE fortress, which included an ostraca with Hebrew writing on it. The implications of this find are legion but here are a few POTENTIAL implications of this find. (I must say potential because it is still very early in the process and I don’t want to get ahead of myself).

  • If site really is an Israelite fortress, it is evidence of a significant civilization in the 10th century BCE. Thus, the biblical picture of the kingdom of ancient Israel could be more accurate than is sometimes allowed.
  • If the writing on the ostraca found turns out to be Hebrew (and the use of the word ‘to do’ makes that seem likely) then literacy could be have been much more widespread than is often thought.
  • If it is true that no pig bones were found at the site, as CNN reported, then this is evidence of very early practice of kosher laws.

This site has only begun to be excavated and we can only imagine what other treasures this site could produce. John Hobbins has said that this find marks the end of ‘minimalism’ as we know it. I think he’s right and I think that a 10th century Israelite fortress has the potential of being a site that is mentioned in the same breath as Qumran. Yeah, it’s that exciting!

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