Khirbet Qeiyafa

Fortified City from the Time of King David

In recent years, the formerly little-known site of Khirbet Qeiyafa grabbed headlines in BAR and around the world. During excavations at this site nestled in the Judean foothills between Jerusalem and the coast, archaeologists found clear evidence of a well-ordered, fortified city dating to the early 10th century B.C.—the time of King David. What is more, the site revealed a fragment of pottery inscribed with five lines of text that represent the oldest Hebrew inscription ever found.

Biblical Archaeology: From the Ground Down

How does a dig team work? What do archaeologists look for at a dig? In this documentary DVD, learn how excavators work and what we can learn from archaeology. More information.

While the debate over who ruled over Qeiyafa and when has already begun, there is little question that this site, which may have occupied for less than 20 years during this period, will continue to reveal dramatic new insights into the little-known 10th century in the coming years. In addition to the Hebrew ostracon, excavations have already uncovered a massive 13-foot wide casemate fortification wall, as well as a monumental four-chambered gate complex. These fortifications clearly suggest that Qeiyafa was strategically positioned to defend the Israelite hill country from the Philistine threat along the coast.
This summer, Professor Yosef Garfinkel leads his Hebrew University team on a quest to discover and map more of the urban layout of this remarkable site.
Project volunteers will stay at the Ramot Shapira Hostel in the nearby village of Beth Mier. Participants will stay in air-conditioned rooms with three to four roommates.

Yosef Garfinkel

Yosef GarfinkelDr. Yosef Garfinkel has directed the excavation of numerous sites throughout Israel, including the famous Chalcolithic site of Sh’ar Hagolan and, more recently, Tel Tsaf. Since 1994 he has served as Curator of the Archaeological Museum at Kibbutz Sha’ar Hagolan.
Dr. Garfinkel has written more than seventy articles and ninety books, including Dancing at the Dawn of Agriculture (Univ. of Texas Press, 2003) and The Goddess of Sha’ar Hagolan (Israel Exploration Society, 2004).

Dig Directors

Yosef Garfinkel

Geographic Location

20 miles southwest of Jerusalem

Periods of Occupation

Early 10th century BC (Iron Age IIA)
Early Hellenistic (Alexander the Great)

Dates of the Dig

June 23 - July 19, 2013

Minimum Stay

2 weeks

Application Due

April 2013


$50.00 registration fee + $400.00/week
$1050 per three weeks
$2000 per six weeks
$50 registration fee

Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution

Yes (three to six), Hebrew University of Jerusalem, $80 registration fee + $360 (3 credits), $720 (6 credits)


Ramot Shapira Hostel


Yosef Garfinkel
011-972-2-588-2421 or

Open for tours

Yes, by appointment