Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Monumental Building from Time of Solomon Unearthed at Gezer

Philippe Bohstrom reports in Haaretz on the discovery of a large royal structure immediately adjacent to the Solomonic city gate.

A palatial building dating to the era of King Solomon 3000 years ago has been discovered in the royal city of Gezer, though there is no evidence which of the Israelite kings lived there, if any.

The monumental building dates to the 10th century BCE, the era associated with King Solomon, who is famed for bringing wealth and stability to the newly-united kingdom of Israel and Judah. The American archaeological team also found a layer featuring Philistine pottery, lending credence to the biblical account of them living in the city until being vanquished by King David.

The complex features a large central courtyard, like contemporary palace-like buildings found throughout the southern Levant, including at Hatzor and Megiddo. Though there's no telling who ruled from there, if anybody did, the edifice is significantly larger than the size of ordinary houses of the time, excavation co-director Prof. Steve Ortiz, representing the Tandy Museum of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary of Fort Worth, Texas, told Haaretz. Among the features not found in usual domestic structures is ashlar masonry - large rectangular-shaped monolithic hewn stones - in the corners of rooms, Ortiz said.

[…]

The main feature is two parallel long rooms, or courtyards, surrounded on all sides by various rooms, numbering at least 15. The palace has two entrances from the east and west. The entrance from the west also connects this building to the monumental six-chambered gate associated by most scholars with Solomon. This entrance is more robustly built than the rest of the building: The walls are constructed with two to three rows of stones wide, built of roughly dressed field stones somewhat smaller in size than those used in the rest of the building.

The article contains photos and more background about the historical importance of Gezer along with a little bit of the reasoning for dating this stratum to the 10th, and not 9th, century.

HT: Joseph Lauer

Gezer aerial from west, ws073114058b

Gezer from the west, showing area of palace excavations
Photo by Bill Schlegel

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