Israeli Archaeologists Uncover Royal Residence

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli archaeologists announced Thursday they have uncovered a fortified city used by King David in the 10th century BC.

In the past year, the team has unearthed two royal public buildings, one believed to have served as a place for King David and the other a storeroom of biblical proportions.

The seven-year excavation at Khirbet Qeiyafa, identified with the biblical city of Shaarayim today located near Beit Shemesh -- about halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv -- is drawing to a close, at least this phase.

"Khirbet Aeiyafa is the best example exposed to date of a fortified city from the time of King David," Hebrew University Prof. Yossi Garfinkel and IAA archaeologist Saar Ganor explained in the press release.

The 15-meter (yard) by 6-meter pillared building at the northern end of the fortified city served as an administrative storehouse.

"It was in this building the kingdom stored taxes it received in the form of agricultural produce collected from the residents of the different villages in the Judean Shephelah," the press release read. "Hundreds of large storage jars were found at the site whose handles were stamped with an official seal as was customary in the Kingdom of Judah for centuries."

The researchers believe Khirbet Qeiyafa was likely destroyed in one of the battles with the Philistines around 980 BC.

The IAA, Nature and Parks Authority and other relevant agencies agreed to cancel plans to construct a residential neighborhood nearby. Instead, they'd like to make it a national park where visitors can learn more about what the country was like during King David's time.

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