Eilat Mazar’s excavation and archaeology methods are beyond reproach, but her recent claim to have discovered King David’s palace at her Jerusalem dig site has met with harsh criticism from other scholars in the field. In the September/October 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, senior archaeologist Avraham Faust reviews the evidence to show why he agrees—and disagrees—with her theory.
The narrow ridge, still known as the City of David, lies south of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. It is the location of the most ancient settlement of Jerusalem. As Avraham Faust explains, Mazar’s decision to dig in the City of David was informed by the Biblical text and by the excavations that preceded hers. Based on earlier finds, Mazar thought she knew where David’s palace should be located. When she uncovered the Large Stone Structure from the Iron Age, she proposed it to be built by King David as his palace.
Eilat Mazar excavated a complex structure that includes a massive eastern wall. Within this Large Stone Structure, as Mazar named it, were layers of Iron Age I remains, showing that it must have been built no later than the Iron Age I (c. 1200–1000/950 B.C.E.). Even so, Mazar identified the building as likely having been the palace King David built for himself in the early Iron Age IIa. Avraham Faust, however, argues that the archaeological evidence indicates a construction date before David’s time. According to Faust, Mazar’s archaeology methods for dating the structure are good, and David may have used the structure as his palace, but Mazar fudges the dates a bit to say that King David built it.
Read more about the complex archaeology methods surrounding the study of the Large Stone Structure in Avraham Faust’s article “Did Eilat Mazar Find David’s Palace?” from the September/October 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.
Eilat Mazar’s full article “Did I Find King David’s Palace?” is available for free in Bible History Daily.