After seven years of excavations, a team of Israeli archaeologists has discovered a city that existed during the reign of King David; their findings suggest that he ruled over a kingdom larger and more sophisticated than many scholars have previously thought. Robin Ngo writes:
Overlooking the Elah Valley [where David battled Goliath], about twenty miles southwest of Jerusalem, lies . . . Khirbet Qeiyafa. . . . Among the incredible finds at Qeiyafa was a second city gate from the 10th century BCE; no other site from this period in Israel has more than one gate. . . .
The dig’s directors, Yosef Garfinkel and Saar Ganor, identify Khirbet Qeiyafa with the biblical Sha’arayim, [whose name is] Hebrew for “two gates” (Joshua 15:36; 1 Samuel 17:52; 1 Chronicles 4:31). The two monumental four-chambered city gates at Khirbet Qeiyafa are located on the western and southern sides of the site and measure approximately 35-feet wide and 42-feet deep into the city. The western gate controls access to the road [to] Philistia, while the southern one opens down to the Elah Valley that eventually connects to Jerusalem.
“Some scholars view King David’s kingdom as a simple agrarian society, sparsely inhabited, with no fortified cities, no administration, and no writing,” write Garfinkel, Ganor, and Joseph Baruch Silver. “These scholars find it very hard to accept the new discoveries at Qeiyafa, which have completely dismantled those hypotheses.”