See Eilat Mazar, “Excavate King David’s Palace,BAR 23:01. One should note, however, that all the evidence Eilat Mazar referred to when she first suggested the palace can be excavated referred to the area north of where she finally excavated. This can be seen clearly in the plans and reconstructions she published (including the major reconstruction in her 1997 BAR article). Clearly, even if all the evidence she brought forth in 1997 were impeccable (and they are not), there was no reason to expect the palace where she excavated.


See Eilat Mazar, “Did I Find King David’s Palace?BAR 32:01.


See Jane Cahill, “It Is There: The Archaeological Evidence Proves It,BAR 24:04, and Margreet Steiner, “It’s Not There: Archaeology Proves a Negative,BAR 24:04.


See Avraham Faust, “Pottery Talks,BAR 30:02.



Ronny Reich, Excavating the City of David: Where Jerusalem’s History Began (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society and Biblical Archaeology Society, 2011), p. 265.


David Ussishkin et al., “Has the Palace of King David Been Found in Jerusalem?” in E. Baruch, A. Levy-Reifer and A. Faust, eds., New Studies on Jerusalem, vol. 13 (Ramat Gan) (2007), [Hebrew], p. 42ff.; Israel Finkelstein et al., “Has King David’s Palace in Jerusalem Been Found?” Tel Aviv 34 (2007), pp. 157–161.


Finkelstein recently attempted to defend his criticism (Israel Finkelstein, “The ‘Large Stone Structure’ in Jerusalem: Reality versus Yearning,” Zeitschrift des deutschen Palästina-Vereins 127 [2011], pp. 1–10). While accepting that some elements might be early (in contrast to his first publications), he claims that the evidence for the early dating is limited to half a room. In his discussion Finkelstein ignores much of the data, including, for example, the Iron I crucible layer which abuts the massive W20—this means that W20 should also be dated early. He also challenges the connection between the Large Stone Structure and the Stepped Stone Structure.


As claimed by some of Eilat Mazar’s critics. Finkelstein, for example, attempted recently to claim that her Iron Age I remains are insignificant, local in nature (less than half a room), and cannot therefore date the entire building. This clearly refutes his claim.


Eilat Mazar, The Palace of King David: Excavations at the Summit of the City of David. Preliminary Report of Seasons 2005–2007 (Jerusalem, 2009), pp. 56–57, 63 and the photograph on p. 56; see also Amihai Mazar, “Archaeology and the Biblical Narrative: The Case of the United Monarchy,” in R.G. Kratz and H. Spieckermann, eds., One God—One Cult—One Nation: Archaeological and Biblical Perspectives, Beihefte zur Zeitschrift fur die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 405 (Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2010), pp. 38–39; contra Finkelstein’s article “The ‘Large Stone Structure’ in Jerusalem.”


Iron Age IIb and Iron Age IIc follow, taking us down to the Babylonian destruction of 586 B.C.E. Israel Finkelstein’s low chronology would extend Iron Age I to the end of the tenth century B.C.E., in contrast to the conventional (or modified conventional) date which most archaeologists continue to defend, but that debate is irrelevant to the issue here and need not detain us here.


Reich (Excavating the City of David [p. 266]) suggests that the Large Stone Structure might date to the Middle Bronze Age—400–500 years earlier: “I will not be at all surprised if it turns out that this building actually dates to the Middle Bronze II.” In light of the above, this is very unlikely, if only due to its connection with the Stepped Stone Structure which (and this is accepted by practically all scholars) cannot be earlier than Iron I.


Such evidence relates to change in settlement patterns and form, to major architectural works in various sites such as Gezer, the Negev “fortresses,” etc., and even the pottery of this phase by itself might be indicative of social change. For the architectural finds, see the various discussions of the Solomonic gates, for example (regardless of what one thinks of their “Solomonic” nature); for the Negev fortresses and more, see also Amihai Mazar, “Archaeology and the Biblical Narrative”; for the pottery, see, for example, A. Faust, “Burnished Pottery and Gender Hierarchy in Iron Age Israelite Society,” Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 15, vol. 1 (2002), pp. 53–73.


Eilat Mazar, The Palace of King David, p. 53.


The changes in the Large Stone Structure are paralleled in the changes in the Stepped Stone Structure. Both were, after all, part of the same complex.


For a fuller treatment, see A. Faust, “The Large Stone Structure in the City of David: A Reexamination,” Zeitschrift des deutschen Palästina-Vereins 126 (2011), pp. 116–130.