Alleged Palace of David site

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The alleged Palace of David site is a large 10th to 9th century BC public building in eastern Jerusalem whose discovery was announced on August 4, 2005 by Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar, who identifies it as the palace of the Biblical King David. The site is widely recognized as a major find, but the specific identification is disputed. The Biblical chronologies would imply that David's palace would have been built very early in the 10th century BC.

The research was funded by a conservative group seeking to confirm aspects of Biblical history, which has led to the skepticism of some archaeologists of the sensational claim of identification, a common criticism of the Biblical archaeology approach. One possibility suggested by other archaeologists is that the site may be the Jebusite fortress of Zion that was conquered by David. However, the remains so far indicate that this major public building was completed in the Phoenician style. The Biblical account, in Books of Samuel II 5:11 has it that Hiram of Tyre (i.e., in Phoenicia) built the palace.

One notable find at the site is the discovery of a seal of the government official Jehucal, son of Shelemiah, son of Shevi, a figure mentioned twice in the Book of Jeremiah, who presumably lived in the late 7th century BC.

The site was dated by the different types of pottery found above and below the building foundations. The layer below has pottery from Iron Age I, while the layer above has pottery from Iron Age II.

Current progress

The dig is ongoing, but progress is limited by the current occupants of the land atop the ruins. According to the New York Times article referenced below, "Mazar continues to dig, but right now, three families are living in houses where she would most like to explore. One family is Muslim, one Christian and one Jewish."

The dig was sponsored by the Shalem Center Institute of Archaeology, where Mazar is a senior fellow.

See also

External references

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