Friday, August 19, 2005

FIND OF THE CENTURY?

A prominent Israeli archaeologist claims to have uncovered the ancient palace of King David near the Old City of Jersalem. Following a six month dig at the site, Dr. Eilat Mazar (granddaughter of renowned archaeologist Benjamin Mazar) has stirred international interest that this could possibly be the Biblical palace built for the victorious King David by King Hiram of Tyre as recounted in Samuel II:5.

This is the same site that Kathleen Kenyon dug in the 1960s and Israeli archaeologist Yigal Shilo dug in the 1970s and 80s. Kenyon thought she had uncovered part of a Solomonic contstruction site added on to the City of David. Shilo found more of these stones nearby. And 80 years ago, Irish archaeologist Rober Macalister attributed the huge boulders to the ruins of the Jebusite city wall that King David broke as he conquered the city in about 1000 BC.

Now with the help of a $500,000 grant, Mazar and her team have peeled away the fallen stones, revealing what lay immediately underneath the boulders. She is convinced that the stones were not a ruined city wall but rather the ruins of an immense 3,000 year old building which was surprisingly well preserved. Inside were a variety of pottery shards dating back to King David and his son Solomons's time as well as a government seal impression of an official (Jehucal son of Shelemiah, son of Shevi) who is named twice in the book of Jeremiah (37.3 and 38.1).

Not all the experts are convinced. Seymour Gitlin, Director of Jersalem's W.F. Albright Institute says," This is an extremely impressive find, and the first of its kind which can be assoicated with the 10th century(BC). But due to all the possible historical implications, we need to look carefully at the pottery and to further excavate the area."

Stay tuned!

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