Avraham Faust on David’s Palace

Have Eilat Mazar’s Archaeology Methods Truly Revealed the Royal Abode in Jerusalem?

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.

Although Hebrew University archaeologist Eilat Mazar has received criticism from some about her claim to have discovered King David’s Palace on the Jerusalem ridge known as the City of David—the most ancient part of the city—no one questions the quality of her archaeology methods of excavation. Now Avraham Faust, a senior archaeologist at Bar-Ilan University, reviews Eilat Mazar’s archaeology, methods and conclusions about the so-called Large Stone Structure that she revealed (above) and explains why he agrees—and disagrees—with her theory. (Photo: Courtesy Eilat Mazar)

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.

Visit the BAS Library to read Avraham Faust’s “Did Eilat Mazar Find David’s Palace?” or read it in the new BAR digital edition.

Posted in Archaeologists, Biblical Scholars & Works, Jerusalem.

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  • david says

    shalom, thank you! Ask Samara Rabbi richmans secratery where we were standing. The temple institute was told to build *Temple*(tent inside tent) Samara was/is Rabbi Richmans secratery in 2009 when I arrived. Please look under where we were standing? I knew nothing about *Apple of his eye* I did what *i* was told I pray that Rabbi does also. Thank you *lots of love*david

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