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Edom & Israel in the 10th Century: Recent Documentary & Magazine Article PDF Print E-mail


Below are some recent updates (well okay, late 2010 updates, but the most recent I know of!) on the exciting finds at Khirbet Qeiyafa and Khirbet en-Nahas:

Back in November 2010 National Geographic released an article that gave an update on the state of the debate in biblical archaeology over the existence a 10th century, centralized kingdom in Judah united under King David. The article contains a lot of material on the subject and quotes from Yosef Garfinkel and Israel Finkelstein extensively (who are on opposite sides of the interpretive spectrum). The article is 12 pages long (broken into parts) and can be found here: David and Solomon: Kings of Controversy. Yosef Garfinkel, for those who do not know, has been actively excavating the archaeological site of Khirbet Qeiyafa in Israel since 2008 which is redefining what we know of 10th century Judah, and Garfinkel stedfastly maintains that the site and what has been discovered there is dealing death blows to biblical minimalism and to Finkelstein's low chronology. Also, even more exciting, PBS in December aired a brand new feature-length National Geographic/NOVA documentary production (which Garfinkel at the 2010 Atlanta Conference said they started filming parts of in 2009 – significant parts of it being shot at Khirbet Qeiyafa) that is named “Quest for King Solomon’s Mines”.

You can view the full documentary online by going to the following url, or clicking the image below for convenience: http://video.pbs.org/video/1657294197.

(Edit: PBS apparently requires a subscription to view the video on their site now, but Nat Geo Wild uploaded it on their YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAC4_mKFENo

 

If you don't have time to watch the whole documentary now you can at least check out the short 30 second trailer for it:


Here is also a short synopsis of my own about the documentary, which I have seen at least 3 times now:

About half of it was on Khirbet Qeiyafa (which I have been following ever since they first started digging in 2008), and even more to my delight the other half focused on Thomas Levy’s excavations at Khirbet en Nahas (I have also been closely following new developments on the excavations there). In the past year I have gone back and read several of Levy’s excavation reports/journal publications on the site going back to 2004, and have found them very informative. I incorportated many of his findings into a research paper I wrote on pastoral nomads in the southern Levant (especially in ancient Edom). When I actually saw the 3D animated reconstruction on the NOVA/National Geographic documentary of what Khirbet en-Nahas might have looked like in the 10th century my jaw dropped. As the video says the site was huge - but the 3D reconstruction was breath-taking and quite impressive.

The documentary also shows some footage of the nearby tombs (the Wadi Fidan 40 site) that Levy and Najjar found, which (although the documentary didn’t mention this) they believe may provide the first archaeological evidence for the Shasu (nomadic wanderers mentioned frequently in Egyptian New Kingdom texts), since the graves indicated the material culture of a nomadic group with no pottery found inside them. There was even a Hyksos scarab (16th century B.C) found in one of the graves belonging to the (presumably) “queen mother/matriarch” of the nomadic band, most likely handed down as an heirloom or gift for several generations. You can read more about the connection of that site to the Shasu in the pastoral nomad article linked to above.

Overall it was a great documentary and included the most recent finds in and around Israel pertaining to the 10th century B.C. that have been uncovered. So there you have it, between the National Geographic article and the NOVA/National Geographic documentary you now have the most recent news on Khirbet Qeiyafa and Khirbet en-Nahas. Enjoy!
 
 
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