A researcher, Prof. Avraham Faust, was studying naked mole rats at Tel ‘Eton, near the Hebron hills in the central Israeli lowlands. The little burrowing rodents are endemic to the region. They burrow everywhere, and whatever is in the way when they burrow, they deposit topside. If the rodent piles contain lots of pottery sherds, the area had been settled. If not, not. At Tel ‘Eton there were a lot of artifacts in the naked mole rat piles, for a place that supposedly had never been inhabited.
With the rodents’ help, Faust accidentally found the second-ever monumental structure which can be dated to the united Judah Kingdom ruled by King David and his son, King Solomon, in the 900s BCE.
Any claim for Davidic finds are – to put it mildly – controversial. There are ongoing debates about the first monumental structure dated to the Davidic era. And this new, second find is also debated. The vast majority of the findings in the house date to the 700s B.C.E, a couple of hundred years after the united Judah Kingdom. But Faust suspects its foundations date from the Davidic period of the united kingdom. The big house, which they dubbed the “governor’s residency” (though it could have been something entirely different) may exemplify what they call the “old-house effect”: a building or settlement that existed for generations, but only left significant remains from its final form.