Sunday, February 18, 2007

Palace of David: 2006-07 Findings

Aren Maeir has posted a short report from his visit to Eilat Mazar's excavation in the City of David.  Mazar just concluded a six-month season and has uncovered more of the monumental building that she believes may be identified with the palace of David.  Maeir says:

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. 

Read the whole post and the comments, especially the one by Zachi Zweig.  This is the sort of stuff that newspapers should be covering, not the silly nonsense so often featured.  Mazar's findings may radically affect our understanding of Jerusalem in ancient times, and that's without regard to whether she has found David's palace or not.

Elsewhere, Ronny Reich told a group of us today about some 200 bullae, a beautiful carved pomegranate, and a huge quantity of fishbones that have been discovered in the City of David in the last couple of years.  These are significant because they date to the 9th century B.C. and have Phoenician elements.  Reich suggests that these may be related to influence from the northern kingdom via Queen Athaliah.  An article is due out on this in Qadmoniot (Hebrew) in the near future, with an English translation to follow in another journal.

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14 Comments:

  • Hi Todd -- I'm going to Beit Shearim tomorrow with my family -- anything interesting to say about it/any Biblical connection?

    Thanks as always for your blog!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Feb 18, 03:46:00 PM  

  • Hi Todd -- It's me, Anonymous, again. Have you seen www.biblewalks.com? It has some good info for visitors -- the interesting thing is, it seems to be run by a Jewish girl (Rotem, quite the hottie!) but is sensitive to Christian interests, a rare combination.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Feb 18, 04:09:00 PM  

  • Anonymous - I have seen the website and have a link to it from BiblePlaces.com. As for Beth Shearim, there is no biblical connection, but the tombs there are impressive. Have a great trip.

    By Blogger Todd Bolen, at Mon Feb 19, 08:46:00 AM  

  • Hi Todd,

    That's very interesting what you said about the finds at the Gihon pool. Meanwhile we've got up to 200 bullae. First time I heard about it we had 45, then 90 then over 150 and now. Amazing. The thing with the pomegranate is completely new to me. Did you hear anything about a seal with an empty throne above which a winged sun disk is depicted. I have only heard about this via via and would like to learn more about this. Have you got any news here?

    Many thanks
    Peter

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Feb 19, 09:21:00 AM  

  • This is really exciting to finally hear some news from the dig. I can't wait for the BAR article to come out, especially since I was one of the priviledged few to excavate there.

    By Anonymous Shireen, at Mon Feb 19, 11:52:00 AM  

  • Hi Todd,

    I heard about your website from Marc Spansel, but couldn't remember what it was called. Then my wife asked me to look up info. on Hezekiah's Tunnel, and Wala, there was your website as the first hit in Google.

    Anyways, I had no idea you were still in Israel teaching at Ibex. Wow. You must have a lot of great stories to tell. There is a chance that my wife and I might be in Israel this November. Marc Spansel and our Sr. Pastor Dave Hague are taking a trip around the holy land. Have you heard from them yet? Anyways, I'd love to come visit if we ever have the opportunity. Take care.

    Matt Sherwood --92 Institute of Holy Land Studies.

    By Blogger Sherfam, at Mon Feb 19, 09:10:00 PM  

  • Peter - nothing like that was mentioned, but the presentation was brief and unofficial. I'll keep my ears open.

    By Blogger Todd Bolen, at Tue Feb 20, 02:01:00 AM  

  • Dear Todd,

    No problem. What I heard was that in addition to the bullae (which are all iconographic - some while ago I saw some poor drawings of one or two on the internet [with a dragon/snake, some geometric design etc.] but these are no longer to be seen), there are seals and scarabs Bs well (including the one with the empty throne). Also in the earlier reports I read about ivory plaques for fiscal use. I really need to check with Ronny Reich directly. As I will be back in Jerusalem this summer, I should make an appointment. I'll keep you updated!
    best wishes
    Peter van der Veen

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Feb 20, 04:53:00 AM  

  • Dr. van der Veen, please keep me abreast of the Throne-seal rumors. I had not heard of this one.

    By Blogger G.M. Grena, at Tue Feb 20, 09:26:00 PM  

  • Hi George!

    Yes indeed this is what I heard or better what I have been told by others who had actually heard. This indeed is very interesting stuff as Keel & Uehlinger previously have argued that the empty throne symbol must have been present in Jerusalem, in terms of their sungod theory. They argue that a sungod had been worshipped previously (i.e. before Solomon) in Jerusalem, which may have influenced a solar worship of YHWH by some kings of Judah later. The depiction may indeed add weight to their theory. But these things need to be checked properly. I'll keep you updated!
    Best

    Peter van der Veen

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Feb 21, 06:00:00 AM  

  • Of course, it's easy to make TOO much out of a single find.

    I grew up in LA, with a non-practicing Jewish father and a lapsed Methodist mother. We had a 800 year old bronze statue of Buddha in the house that my dad acquired with he was in China with the Marines during WW2.

    Imagine what might have been assumed about our religious belief system if that was found by archaeologists 200 years in the future.

    By Blogger Al Sandalow, at Wed Feb 21, 05:49:00 PM  

  • I am looking forward to further insights into these recent discoveries. Every semester my students are unsettled by exposure to Biblical archaeology, and many gravitate quickly to sites claiming to confirm all of their presuppositions - such as Wyatt's claims of chariot wheel(s) in the Red Sea and things of that sort. I am always grateful when I find serious sources of information on the web that I can point my students towards.

    I have a tendency to use my blog to comment on subjects other than Biblical studies (my main field), since I do so much on separate class web sites on the latter. My blog is at http://blue.butler.edu/~jfmcgrat/blog/ I wonder whether it is a useful resource yet, and what I could do to improve it and make it more useful!

    By Blogger James F. McGrath, at Wed Feb 21, 08:48:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Nate Shea "Shea Butter", at Sat Feb 24, 08:57:00 PM  

  • Hey Todd,

    I know I've been out of touch but when I saw this article I thought you might be mildly interested.

    Jesus’ burial site found - film claims

    I know you probably have seen a bunch of these before but I thought I'd pass it along anyway.

    Boy I'm so glad that the film crew figured it out when 10 years of scientists and archaeologists couldn't. I think Steven Speilberg would make a great archaeologist. Just too bad good old Robert Alexander Stewart McCalaster isn't around, they would've made a great Team.

    One of the comments said something about a Purim Joke? Kind of like an April fools thing? Could that be right?

    -Nate Shea

    By Blogger Nate Shea "Shea Butter", at Sat Feb 24, 09:08:00 PM  

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