Sites & cities that bear the name of Khirbet Qeiyafa

Khirbet Qeiyafa

First trace of activity : ca. 11th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 10th century B.C.E
Recorded names : Elah Fortress, Hirbet Kaifeh, Shaaraim?, Sha'arayim?, Neta'im?

Description : Khirbet Qeiyafa (Hebrew: חורבת קייאפה‎; Arabic: خربة قيافة‎) (also known as Elah Fortress; Hirbet Kaifeh) is the site of an ancient fortress city overlooking the Elah Valley and dated to the first half of the 10th century BCE. The ruins of the fortress were uncovered in 2007, near the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh, 30 km (20 mi) from Jerusalem. It covers nearly 2.5 ha (6 acres) and is encircled by a 700-meter-long (2,300 ft) city wall constructed of stones weighing up to eight tons each. Excavations at site continued in subsequent years. A number of archaeologists, mainly Yosef Garfinkel and Saar Ganor, have claimed that it might be the biblical city of Sha'arayim, because of the two gates discovered on the site, or Neta'im and that the large building at the center is an administrative building dating to the reign of King David, where he might have lodged at some point. This is based on their conclusions that the site dates to the early Iron IIA, ca. 1025–975 BCE, a range which includes the biblical date for the Kingdom of David. Others are skeptical, and suggest it might represent either a North Israelite, Philistine or Canaanite fortress, a claim rejected in 2019 by the archaeological team that excavated the site. The techniques and interpretations used to reach the conclusion that Khirbet Qeiyafa was a fortress of King David have been criticised.

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