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Israeli archaeologist Yosef Garfinkel announced earlier this week several findings which may contribute toward a positive case for the veracity of biblical history, in particular the question of whether a centralized Israelite kingdom existed during the era of the biblically purported King David. Excavations at a site called Hirbet Qeiyafa, near contemporary Bet Shemesh in the Judean hills, yielded two small-scale model shrines resembling biblical descriptions of the Jerusalem Temple, and showed the city to have been significantly fortified - an indicator of a strong and well-organized central administration. Notable among items  not  found were pig remains and cultic figurines - both of which are common to the area - suggesting a culture observant of biblical religion.

Others, of course, have disputed the evidence; these sorts of debates hardly ever appear resolvable, and despair at the futility of even trying to decisively settle them is, I think, a natural response. But still, even acknowledging the provisionality and tenuousness involved, it’s always nice to hear a little positive evidence.

For more on the find.

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