Ancient Text Unearthed in a Hidden City in Israel
By Claire Ben-Ari
At the site of the Elah Fortress, overlooking the Elah
Valley in the land that David slew Goliath, archaeologists have discovered the
oldest Hebrew text ever found dating back 3,000 years - 1,000 years older than
the Dead sea scrolls, at a hidden fortress believed to be King David's front
line fortress in the war against the Philistines.
The ancient discovered settlement is situated at a
strategic point among four biblical cities in Judah's inheritance and is
fortified with a massive perimeter wall of 700 meters taking 200,000 tons of
rock to build it with one 4-6 chambered gate 10.5 meters across being the
To date only 4% of the site has been excavated, promising
many additional discoveries in the remaining 96% - a process that will likely
take around 10 years. The discoveries made so far have already caused a
commotion, exciting many world renowned archaeologists, overturning and revising
several current archaeological theories, pushing each expert to review their own
excavations in light of the remarkable nature of this site.
They have already made dramatic discoveries at the Elah
fortress, including a pottery shard inscribed with writing with the earliest and
longest Hebrew text ever found, olive pits dating to the time of King David,
rare silver coins, and over 100 pottery handles with a distinct fingerprint
impression which may indicate a link to royal vessels - such a quantity of this
feature found in one small locale is unprecedented.
Until now, archaeological records of the kingdom of Judah
were almost nonexistent and a number of scholars today argue that the kingdom of
Judah was largely a myth created some centuries later, some believe the
discovery of the Elah Fortress may well fundamentally change the world's
textbooks regarding to the history of the Jewish people and the biblical
narrative which has huge symbolic value for Israel, Jews and Christians. The
archaeologists involved in the dig have come to a universal consensus that the
site was inhabited by the earliest urban civilization of Judah and have said
that items discovered so far at the site such as ceramics, a Hebrew text pottery
shard and the lack of pig bones at the fortress indicate most likely that King
David ruled over Jerusalem and ancient Israel during the controversial period of
10th century B.C.E.
Archaeologist at the Elah Fortress show a photograph of a pottery shard engraved with oldest Hebrew text ever found dating back 3,000 years
Photo by Rafael Ben-Ari/Chameleons Eye
Professor Yosef Garfinkel of the Hebrew University in
Jerusalem had been looking to work on such a unique project for months and
explained how the find is an archaeologists paradise and holds so much promise
because it was in use for only a short period of 20 years, and then destroyed
without being inhabited - possibly during a battle against the Philistines
giving it a single layer of civilization making the remains accurate to date.
"There is so much to discover in this archaeological dig that everyone will be
able to find something that could help solve the mysteries of the past" said Mr.
The developers of the site, Foundation Stone are inviting
the public and tourists from all over the world to participate in the dig in the
summer of 2009, to discover a little piece of history for themselves.
For more information visit:
http://www.elahfortress.com/ To view more news photos from Israel visit: http://www.israelnews.chameleonseye.com
from the December 2008 Edition of the Jewish Magazine