Hershel Shanks

Solomon’s Gate at Gezer. The impressive tenth-century B.C. structure, shown here from inside the city, was first recognized by Yigael Yadin as a Solomonic six-chambered entryway strongly resembling gates at Hazor and Megiddo. On either side of the entryway (at top of photo) are the remains of a defensive tower. Running down the center of the entryway is a large drain, now uncovered. Each of the six chambers had plastered benches along its sides. A trough at upper left allowed entrants to the city to water their animals just inside the first chamber.

The excavations at Gezer served as a training ground for many prominent archaeologists of the past quarter century and was directed for eight seasons by William G. Dever, interviewed in the accompanying article in the first of two installments. The Gezer gate has been the subject of contention between American and some Israeli archaeologists, with some Israeli scholars arguing that the gate dates to the reign of Ahab in the ninth century B.C.