Archaeologists in Israel have found remains which may be the biblical City of King David, the first evidence that the ancient Jewish empire actually existed.
The bible refers to a powerful 10th century B.C. Kingdom of David, Israel's second king, stretching from Egypt to the Euphrates, but little evidence of its existence has ever been found.
Now, an archaeological discovery at Khirbet Qeiyafa, in Elah Valley, 30 km from Jerusalem, appears to show signs of a Jewish settlement.
Professor Yosef Garfinkel, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said that evidence found at the site included a single pottery fragment with an inscription believed to be an early form of Hebrew and olive pits dated as 3,000 years old.
Khirbet Qeiyafa is a forgotten Biblical site. This is most surprising in view of its massive fortifications of megalithic stones which still stand to a height of 2-3 m, and its strategic geopolitical location.
The site of Khirbet Qeiyafa has never been excavated. So far it has largely been neglected by archaeologists and biblical scholars and no historical identification has been suggested for it.
In the past we suggested an identification with the biblical city of Azekah, but the dating of the Iron Age settlement to the early 10th century BC clearly disproves our first hypothesis.
In the 2008 seasons we uncovered at the site two gates, one in the east, facing Jerusalem and one in the western side of the site. Khirbet Qeiyafa is the only site in the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel with two gates. This unique feature provides a clear indication of the site's identity as biblical Sha`arayim, a place name that means "two gates" in Hebrew. Sha`arayim is mentioned three times in the Bible: Jos 15, 36, 1 Sam 17:52 and 1 Ch 4:31-32). It is located near the Elah valley, associated with King David twice, and not mentioned in conjunction with any other later First Temple period tradition. This accords with the archaeological and radiometric data that indicate a single-phase settlement in the early 10th century BCE at Khirbet Qeiyafa.
For a detailed article on the site identification see: Yosef Garfinkel and Saar Ganor,
Khirbet Qeiyafa: Sha`arayim. Journal of Hebrew Scriptures - Volume 8: Article 22 (2008).