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Yosef Garfinkel

Yosef Garfinkel is Professor of Biblical archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and curator of the Museum of Yarmukian Culture at Kibbutz Sha‘ar Hagolan. He specializes in the Protohistoric era of the Near East, the period of time when the world’s earliest village communities were established and the beginning of agriculture took place. Dr. Garfinkel has been the Yigael Yadin Professor for the Archaeology of Israel since 2007, which is the same year when he began conducting excavations at the fortified city of Khirbet Qeiyafa, a Biblical site that dates to the early tenth century B.C., the period of King David. An outstanding discovery made in the 2008 season is an inscription written in ink on a pottery sherd—the earliest Hebrew inscription ever found.


Presenter at

Bible & Archaeology Fest XV, November 16-18, 2012
The Kingdom of David in Light of Khirbet Qeiyafa Excavations
There are many debates concerning the historical King David and his kingdom. Was it a golden era with a territorial state from Egypt to Mesopotamia or a medium-sized kingdom? Was King David a local pastoral ruler or an imaginary literary figure? Without clear archaeological data from sites like Jerusalem or Hebron, it was indeed hard to answer these questions. Now, after six seasons of excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa, the fortified city in Judah that has been radiometrically dated to the time of King David, we have for the first time clear information on urbanisim and administration in Judah at the time of King David.

Special lecturer for the Biblical Archaeology Society’s 2012 “Exclusive Israel” program, October 13 - 25, 2012

Bible & Archaeology Fest XIII, November 19-21, 2010
The Sanctuary of Khirbet Qeiyafa: Judean Cult at the Time of King David
At present, Khirbet Qeiyafa is the only known fortified city in Judah that dates to the early 10th century B.C.E., the time of King David. The ancient city is also the site where the earliest known Hebrew inscription was discovered. The site continues to yield extraordinary discoveries: The 2010 excavations revealed a sanctuary with cultic paraphernalia that includes standing stones, a basalt altar, a pottery libation vessel and a basin. This presentation will present the findings for what is now the earliest known evidence for cultic activity ever found in Judah.

Bible & Archaeology Fest XII, November 20-22, 2009
Khirbet Qeiyafa: A Fortified City in Judah from the Time of King David
This presentation presents the latest scholarship to emerge from the watershed excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa. Currently there is a bitter debate regarding the socio-political landscape of 10th century BCE in ancient Israel—the time period of Kings David and Solomon. This debate involves various aspects that can be summarized into four major issues: chronology, settlement patterns, political organization and the Biblical narrative. The site of Khirbet Qeiyafa, a fortified city dated by radiometric techniques to the late 11th/early 10th century BCE, clearly indicates that urban centers existed in Judah during the time of King David. Located between Socoh and Azeka, Khirbet Qeiyafa is where the Biblical narrative locates the legendary battle between David and Goliath. The chronology and geography of Khirbet Qeiyafa create a meeting point between mythology, history, historiography and archaeology.


Selected Articles by Yosef Garfinkel

Prize Find: Female Figurines, Sha‘ar ha-Golan

The Yarwhosians?: You may not have heard of them, but the civilized Neolithic Yarmukians created some of the world’s earliest clay sculptures.


Selected Books by Yosef Garfinkel