Biblical archaeological lectures at Helderberg College

The author, in front, busy with excavation work.

Professor Martin Klingbeil from the USA will be presenting an illustrated public lecture on Biblical Archaeology at Helderberg College in Somerset West on Saturday December 17, at 4 pm. His lecture will be titled “Religious reforms and government communications from the time of King Hezekiah: new archaeological finds from Tel Lachish”.

Professor Klingbeil is not stranger to South Africa, having completed his doctorate in Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Stellenbosch University under guidance of Professor Sakkie Cornelius.

He will report on their 2016 excavations at Tel Lachish, which were carried out on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority in the area of the six-chambered gate dating to the time of King Hezekiah (end of 8th century BCE).

The three southern gate chambers were excavated and a two-roomed shrine was uncovered in one of the chambers that showed signs of the religious reforms, which according to 2 Kings 18:4, were conducted during the reign of King Hezekiah.

The presentation will also discuss in detail four seal impressions found during the 2014 excavations that contain inscriptions which connect them to officials in the royal administration of King Hezekiah.

Both finds were recently presented as academic papers during the annual meetings of the American Schools of Oriental Research in San Antonio, Texas.

Professor Klingbeil was one of the excavators of the “Fortress of Elah,” known today as Khirbet Qeiyafa or Sha’arayim in the Bible, one of the most important archaeological discoveries relating to the period of the Israelite monarchy.

According to 1 Samuel 17, a shepherd boy named David won a decisive victory for the Israelites under King Saul when he defeated the Philistine warrior Goliath.

The Valleyof Elah was the location of the epic battle between David and Goliath, and on one of these hills lie the ruins of an ancient fortress dating to the time of Saul and David.

The Philistines camped on one hill and the Israelites on another, with the valley of Elah between them.

The history of David is of particular importance, since without David, there is no founder of Jerusalem. Without David, there is no author for the Psalms.

Without David, there is no United Monarchy of Israel. Without David, there is no Messiah.

The findings of his teams’ archaeological diggings have been featured as a cover article in National Geographic, while both CNN and BBC have made documentaries on it.

Entry to the lecture is free, and no booking is required. There will be a question and answers session after the lecture. Direct enquiries to 021 855 1312 or 082 881 4982 or ficker@worldonline.co.za