Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Did Eilat Mazar Find King David's Palace?


Did Eilat Mazar find the palace of David in the City of David in Jerusalem?
Eilat Mazar is an Israeli archaeologist specializing in Jerusalem and Phoenician archaeology. She has worked on the Temple Mount excavations as well as excavations at Achzib. Recently she has been part of an exciting and controversial discovery...



In the Bible, we read about King David uniting the twelve tribes of ancient Israel into one great kingdom. Yet some scholars today question whether King David or this kingdom ever existed.


In the mid-1990's, Eilat Mazar proposed searching for the remains of King David's palace.
More than a decade later she started digging...and what she found started a fire of controversy. 


Mazar decided to start excavations in the northern part of the most ancient area of Jerusalem, known as the City of David. When asked in an interview why she decided to start digging here she replied:

"We started excavations here because we wanted to examine the possibility that the remains of King David's palace are here. We could have been wrong, but we knew that whatever we would find would likely be important. We are in a very important spot of the City of David (the oldest part of Jerusalem), at the top of the city . It overlooks all the area around, and it's very narrow, only about 60 meters (about 200 feet) wide."

.....
Finally, in 2010 Mazar found something.


In 2010, Mazar announced her discovery of part of the ancient walls around the City of David. She dates the structure to the tenth century BC...but not everyone agrees with her dating.
According to Mazar, "It's the most significant construction we have from First Temple days in Israel" and "It means that at that time, the 10th century in Jerusalem, there was a regime capable of carrying out such construction." 

The 10th century is the period the Bible describes as the reign of King Solomon. Not all archaeologists believe that there was a strong state at that time. And archaeologist Aren Maeir is dubious about such claims and about Mazar's dating...

...that was until Mazar discovered a section of the wall of the city of Jerusalem.


The wall, 70 meters long and 6 meters high, is located in the area known as the Ophel, between the City of David and the southern wall of the Temple Mount. This new discovery is definitely bringing new validity to Mazar's dating and the fact that there had to be some sort of regime living there large enough to carry out such a large construction project.

In the end, the question as to whether or not there was such a person as King David is still controversial. But the question as to whether or not there was a large kingdom living here at that time is pretty much "set in stone"...

Stay tuned for more interesting discoveries and facts that bring the Bible to life.

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