Archaeologists to excavate the unstudied biblical site of Kiryat Ye’arim.A previously unstudied major biblical site believed to be the location of the Ark of the Covenant will be excavated by archeologists this summer.
The area is biblically referred to as Kiryat Ye’arim or Kiriath Jearim. It is located about 12 kilometers from the western side of Jerusalem. Today, the region is called “Deir El-Azar,” which is likely derived from the biblical character, Eleazar, who is said to have been responsible for bringing the Ark of the Covenant to this location.
It is unanimously accepted that Deir El-Azar and Kiriath-Jearim are the same place. The mound measures 250 x 250 m in size and spreads across five hectares. It is also said to be untouched by modern developments.
Organizers of the excavation hope to shed some light on the location’s significance with the Iron Age, which has been associated with King David’s regime from the Bible. The Bible mentions Kiryat Ye’arim quite a few times and refers to it as a Judahite town, located close to Jerusalem.
One of the key interests in this excavation is to find the ruins of an ancient temple that is believed to have existed in this very location. If found, the discovered ruins could provide more knowledge on the cultic practices followed in Judah at the time of the Iron Age.
Other than that, the excavation could also unravel information concerning ancient Judah of the Bible and Jerusalem’s status during the same period. Also, more information could be found concerning the historical authenticity of Biblical claims, especially the narrative about the Ark of the Covenant.
It would also prove whether an ancient temple dedicated to the God of Israel actually existed here.
Two of my favourite people in my field, Finkelstein and Romer, are about to start excavations at an important site https://t.co/5dHmuNsuO4
— Prof Stavrakopoulou (@ProfFrancesca) February 9, 2017
According to the Book of Samuel, the Ark of the Covenant was kept safely at Kiryat Ye’arim for two decades, after it was returned to by the Philistines to the Israelites. The historical authenticity of this event is disputed. However, the mention of the town in the Bible suggests some level of significance and the assumption that a temple could have possibly existed here is considered by experts to be reasonable.
The region is also home to The Monastery of the Ark of the Covenant, which is located at the site’s summit.
Remains of a Church from the Byzantine Era were also excavated in the region during early 20th century. The church is said to have been built in commemoration of the Ark tradition.