Professor Yosef Garkinkel is a prominent Israeli archaeologist who holds the Yigael Yadin Chair in Archaeology of the Land of Israel, the most prestigious position in archaeology at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
Yossi, as he prefers to be called, has been invited to demonstrate his internationally-acclaimed work to the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and an exhibition focussing on his finds was featured at the newly opened Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. It was fitting, therefore, that his lecture at MST in August, “In the Footsteps of King David,” was one of the best attended public events that we have hosted on the Wantirna campus.
There is no doubt in Yossi’s mind that Judah was a kingdom in the time of David.
Yossi has directed a number of excavations in Israel aimed at discovering archaeological evidence for King David. Current trends in archaeology view David as no more than a local chieftain in charge of a few hundred people brandishing sticks. However, Yossi set out to look for evidence of a kingdom in the region of Judah and at Khirbet Qeiyafa, a previously insignificant site to the southwest of Jerusalem, he hit the mother-lode. Yossi’s finds from the city of Khirbet Qeiyafa included fortifications, urban planning identical to other Judean cities, taxation and a centralised administration – in short, a kingdom. Critics typically point to subjectivity in dating but a small
number of olive pits, so easy to overlook in the digging process, enabled Yossi to carbon-date the site definitively to the 10th century BC, the time of King David in the biblical narrative. Critics might try to argue that Khirbet Qeiyafa could have been a Philistine or Canaanite city, but the architectural style of private houses directly abutting the thick casemate walls of its fortifications is a feature found only in other uncontrovertibly Judean cities. There is no doubt in Yossi’s mind that Judah was a kingdom in the time of David.
Yossi is passionate about sharing his love for archaeology and his expertise, and makes sure that his digs are a rewarding educational experience for all of his volunteer labourers. I have dug twice with Yossi in Israel and in 2017 I took a team from MST to volunteer on his excavations. Next year another team from MST will help further Yossi’s groundbreaking (every pun intended) research. Students, alumni and friends of MST who are physically fit and ready for adventure are all most welcome to join us.