An ancient fort from King David’s time has been discovered in Israel’s Golan Heights. The fort was unearthed during excavations conducted by the Antiquities Authority in the Golan prior to a neighborhood construction project in Hispin.
It was constructed during King David’s era between the 10th and 11th centuries BC and was believed to have been built by the king’s allies from the kingdom of Geshur. The reason why it is believed that the Geshurite people built the fort was because their capital was located in close proximity to the area (north of the Sea of Galilee) according to the Bible.
Barak Tzin and Enno Bron, who were excavation directors on behalf of the IAA (Israel Antiquities Authority), explained the discovery, “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. 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.”
Since the Geshurite people were believed to have worshiped a moon-god that was depicted in the shape of a bull, the carvings may be related to their religious beliefs. Another very similar object was found last year when an archaeologist at Tel Bethsaida discovered a stone etching of a horned figure with outspread arms and a moon.
Next to the etching found in Hispin was a stone shelf or table that was thought to have been used as an altar. Additionally, a small figure that appeared to be holding a drum could have been used in rituals. They also found more figurines and jewelry at the site along with numerous other artifacts.
Ron Be’eri, who is the IAA’s scientific adviser in the northern region, explained to The Times of Israel how they were able to come up with the date in which the fort was built. He said that they analyzed the pottery sherds that were unearthed and dated them all the way back to the early Iron Age.
The IAA as well as the Housing and Construction Ministry stated that they are planning to eventually allow people to visit this historic site. Several pictures of the site and the remains of the fort can be seen here.