An ancient fortress that is believed to be manned by one of King David’s allies has been discovered by Israeli archeologists in the Golan Heights, where construction of a new neighborhood was slated to begin.
According to CBN News, the discovery was made by The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), who believe that the fort was owned by the ancient kingdom of Geshur. Geshur, which is mentioned in several books throughout the old testament, is believed to have controlled southern and central Golan Heights during the 11th and 10th centuries BC.
The Bible notes that King David had close ties with the kingdom of Geshur. According to the Bible, David married Maachah, the daughter of the king of Geshur. Their son, Absolom, would also later flee to Geshur after murdering his half-brother, Amnon.
“The complex we exposed was built at a strategic location on the small hilltop, above the El-Al canyon, overlooking the region, at a spot where it was possible to cross the river. The c. 1.5 m wide fort walls, built of large basalt boulders, encompassed the hill,” said IAA Excavation Directors Barak Tzin and Enno Bron in a statement.
“In the excavation, we were astonished to discover a rare and exciting find: a large basalt stone with a schematic engraving of two-horned figures with outspread arms. There may also be another object next to them,” they added.
A number of artifacts such as ancient figurines and jewelry were also found in the excavation.
One photo taken by the IAA shows a fertility figurine of a woman with a drum. Another photo features an ancient ring that was found by Avishav Tal, a Hispin resident who had been excavating at the site.
Geshur was an independent Aramean kingdom that is believed to have worshipped a moon-god typically portrayed in the form of a bull stele.
Tzin and Bron also discovered stone carvings providing possible insight into Geshur’s religious practices.
In 2019, Dr. Rami Arav of Nebraska University discovered a similar stone carving of the moon-god at the Bethsaida Expedition Project. Bethsaida is known to have been the ancient capital city of Geshur in the Bible.
Tzin and Bron said of the Golan carving that “It is possible that a person who saw the impressive Bethsaida stele, decided to create a local copy of the royal stele.”
The archeologists on the project hope to preserve the complex for future excavation and research purposes.