A gate dating to the 10th century B.C. – when King David reigned – has been discovered by archaeologists in Israel.
The artifact was found in the area known as Bethsaida, where excavation has been going on for 30 years, according to the the Christian Institute in the U.K.
It was uncovered by a team that included Chris Sinkinson, who hosts the Christian Institute’s new Living Christianity series.
“Experts from around the world have been involved in the decades-long hunt, with Professor Rami Arav of the University of Nebraska leading the work,” the institute said. “Arav said the area has had no disturbance from construction, making it a ‘unique example of a capital city from the 11th-8th century.'”
Sinkinson said a full report is being prepared for publication. He’s certain the excavation was at the location of a city gate of King David’s time.
“The city is thought to be the capital of the kingdom of Geshur, a friendly ally of Israel. King David married the daughter of the king and Absalom fled here during a rebellion,” he said.
Aray told the Jerusalem Post it was possible David and Solomon were not the only kings of the Israelite kingdom during their lifetimes, but “instead chieftains of large tribes of Israelites.”
The Post noted the city also was known as Zer during the First Temple period.
The excavation work has been sponsored by Hebrew Union College of Jerusalem.
A rare stone stele dating back to the kingdom of Geshur also was unearthed.
“Arav said that these types of excavations are difficult in places like Jerusalem, because researchers need to get permission from landowners as well as the government to excavate these sites. In addition, other ancient cities, such as Damascus, have been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times in the past, making it difficult to connect inferences in what actually happened there during these time periods. Bethsaida is an almost untouched archaeological heaven for getting the real story about what happened during the times of the Hebrew Bible and the Second Temple period,” the Post reported.
More excavation work is planned at the site.