Two large structures believed to have been a part of King David's palace have been unearthed in a joint seven-year excavation led by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Israel Antiquities Authority, the two announced Wednesday.
The discovery was made in the site of the ancient city of Khirbet Qeiyafa, which is located southwest of Jerusalem and borders Beit Shemesh and the Elah Valley. The city dates back to the early 10th century B.C.E., and archeologists believe it met a sudden end around 980 B.C.E.
Antiquities Authority researchers Professor Yossi Garfinkel and Saar Ganor identified one of the structures as King David's palace and the other as a large storehouse structure on the royal compound, which, according to archaeologists, stretched some 1,000 square meters (about 11,000 square feet).
Garfinkel and Ganor said that the storehouse was probably used to house taxes that were paid in the form of seasonal produce.
Khirbet Qeiyafa, according to the Antiquities Authority, enjoyed is a key strategic location in the biblical Kingdom of Judea, as it was located on the main road linking Philistia, the coastal plain and Hebron.
The excavation was able to unearth 200 meters (656 feet) of the city's wall, two gates, a pillar building and 10 houses. Archeologist believe the Bible's most famous battles took place in the area -- the battle between David and Goliath.
"The ruins are the best example to date of the uncovered fortress city of King David. … This is indisputable evidence of the existence of a central administration in Judea during the time of King David," the Antiquities Authority said.
According to the Antiquities Authority, the excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa unearthed a well-planned and heavily fortified Judean city, which appears to have been surrounded by massive fortifications of megalithic stones.
Garfinkel and Ganor said that Khirbet Qeiyafa represents "the earliest known example of urban planning in the Judean kingdom," and that it resembled evidence of urban planning found in excavation sites in Beersheba, Tel Beit Mirsim, Tel en-Nasbeh and Tel Beit Shemesh.
The Antiquities Authority further said that hundreds of artifacts were found on the site, including pottery vessels, stone tools and metal objects. Many religious objects typical of the time were found as well, including several seals.
The biblical city's discovery led the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority to recommend that an urban development project planned for the area be canceled to protect the site. The Nature and Parks Authority plans to build a new park in the area.