City of David Excavations

Today I had the pleasure of visiting Eilat Mazar‘s fascinating excavations in the City of David. In her current season, which has lasted for about 6 months (!!), she has uncovered additional elements of a monumental building that was already partially uncovered in previous seasons. As you all may know, she has suggested that this may be a royal structure from the time of King David, from the late 11th/early 10th centuries BCE.

The structure is in fact very impressive, and it appears, based on the finds from below this astounding structure, that it was built no later than the late Iron Age I, since no later finds were found in the fills below this structure. Also, in one area, Iron Age IIA pottery was found in a context of secondary construction and use of the building. What this clearly means is that in the verly late Iron Age I, or the very early Iron Age IIA (whether you date this to late 11th/early 10th, or late 10th), there were substantial public architectural activities in Jerusalem. Needless to say, this is very important for the ongoing (never ending … :-) discussions on the history of the early Iron Age Judean monarchy.

The finds from this excavation are very important for any discussion on the late Iron I/Early Iron II period in the Land of Israel, and thus, are quite relevant vis-a-vis finds from this very time frame from Tell es-Safi/Gath.

Finally, Eilat is to be congratulated for the very nice preliminary report that she just put out on the 2005 season of her work, with many fine photos of the area and of finds from various periods.


19 thoughts on “City of David Excavations

  1. arenmaeir

    I believe from Eilat Mazar – I’m not sure where and if it is being sold. In any case, the full title is:
    Mazar, E. 2007. The Excavations in the City of David 2005: The Visitor’s Center. Preliminary Report (In Hebrew). Jerusalem: Shoham.



  2. zachi zweig

    The major innovation of the current season is the connection of this monumental structure to the steped-stone structure in Area G. It appears they are both part of the same structure. According to Jane Cahil, this stepped-stone structure came out of use during the late 10th century BCE. Since the dating of this structure is based on much more evidence than the TAQ exact dating of the construction of the monemental palace, it seems to me it should be dated to Iron Age I.

    I would have identified it with the Fortress of Zion, but I tend to accept Gaby Barkay’s claim it should be located downhill on the southern part of the hill.

    More interesting finds from this dig are:
    *The continuation of the major wall of the monumental structure further west. It will be further excavated in the next season.
    *Evidence of major Late Bronze activity at the site. A whole BaseRing bowl was found (the first LB vessel ever found in Jerusalem!)
    * A two chamber cave (burial?) which was in use no later than the Middle Bronze.

    And more ….


  3. arenmaeir

    The preliminary report noted above has already appeared. I’m not sure how it can be purchased – perhaps write to Eilat Mazar (at the Hebrew University or at the Shalem Center).


  4. Peter van der Veen

    This message is for Zachi Zweig (anyway hi to Aren!!). Zachi wrote that the new season at CD area G in fact shows (proves ?) that the stepped stone structure and Eilat’s administrative building are interconnected. I’ll also check on this with Eilat directly, but this is most interesting indeed. According to Jane Cahill (at least in part) the stepped stone structure was built at the same time as the terrace structure, in order to widen the area for major building construction. This does not mean that some parts could may be older, others may be younger, as presumably the structure was built and rebuilt over time. But the original structure should have been built sometime near the Late Bronze II to Iron Age I transition, i.e. around 1200 BC. One would suggest that this could be the Jebusite city. Have we got pottery that would support an early Iron Age I date around 1200 BC? Wonderful news on the whole base ring bowl of LBA? Do you have more goodies to share??? Gabi Barkay may have more to share when he comes to speak at our upcoming event in Germany from March 23-25.

    Best wishes


  5. zachi zweig

    After visiting the site yesterday (I’ve finished working there three months ago) I’m not sure at all about the evidence about the interconnection between the stepped stones structrue and the massive stone building. This idea was told to me previously. Anyhow, the main wall of the massive stone structure (W107) that was exposed in the previous season is turning at its eastern section to an angle that alines a turning of the stepped stone structure at its northern section. the gap between them (about 3m) was not excavated.
    Eilat, in her report claims that the pottery in the accumulated earth beneath the massive stone structure is simmilar to the pottery published by Cahil from inside the stepped stone structure. Since this pottery included Iron I and Late Bronze types, Cahil dated it to the transition between the LB and Iron I. Mazar claims the Iron I pottery should be out of use for quite a long time until getting into the stage of being used as a construction fill (or in a earth accumulation) and for this reason she dates it to the 11th century.

    It is most clear that the massive stone structure was in use during the 10th century. I would say that we should give a longer time span for the time the structure should be in use until it will be renovated and have architectural changes. The 10th pottery comes from that time, because it was cought among the main structure wall (W107) and a new wall build near it (about 50cm).


  6. arenmaeir

    Thanks for your updates. I did not give a detailed description of the finds after my visit, since I did not want to infringe on Eilat’s rights to publish and describe the finds in a manner that she sought proper. Thus, the description was only very general. I would suggest waiting with your response to Eilat’s interpretation, after they are published, at least in a preliminary manner.


  7. zachi

    In my last post I was relating mainly to the finds that are published in the preliminary report. You are right regarding the other details (mainly about the late bronze), although it was very brief.


  8. robert

    speaking of david, saw the episode of the naked archaeologist with aren in it, maybe there is hope that we can all be indian jones-esc celebrities after all! very cool stuff


  9. arenmaeir

    Zachi – no harm done – just something to think about for the future.

    Robert – wait till you see the episode on David and Goliath in the “Digging for the Truth” series – now that’s real Indy stuff …



  10. Achish Melek Gat

    Speaking of Indiana Maeir, I am waiting to see how the Battle of David and Goliath plays out in the episode — especially the stone slinging part. (By the way, Greetings Zachi, from Jeff)


  11. I am so inspired by this, as it does’nt just point to the truth that the “Jewish” temple was at this site with King David and all the ramifications of this, but by defaulting, implicative, obviosity, that the Holy Bible is really TRUE! And the WHOLE WORLD (the muslims too!) should be keeping the Holy Days Sabbaths, Statutes and Judgements – The Government of the one and only Living God! There is nothing bigger than this, is there? RSVP


  12. I just noticed that my response is posted on the blog. Wasn’t payin’ enough attention to this, but it still doesn’t change the facts of this absolutely stupendous revelation! And this is just the START of the revelation, as the next STUPENDOUSLY GREAT revelation will be the tombs of the family of David, and the uncovering of the clay jar that Baruch buried the deed to the field of Hanameel that was bought by Jeremiah, who told Baruch to bury it! This is only the start though! Stay tuned for the most earth rending archaeological discoveries tha will turn the “modern” world beyond upside down!


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