Photo of area by Eilat Mazar; photo of statue by Erich Lessing/Art Resource, N.Y.
In this composite electronic image, a statue of King David seems to hover above a building that may have been his palace. In any event, it is a portion of an impressive Iron Age public building from the time of King David that was discovered this past year in Jerusalem by archaeologist Eilat Mazar. (The statue was carved between 1395 and 1405 by Claus Sluter as part of the Well of Moses in the Chartreuse de Champmol monastery in Dijon, France.) The building is at the north end of the City of David, the oldest inhabited part of Jerusalem.
In a BAR article nine years ago, Mazar speculated that David likely would have built his palace in this very area. At the time she did not have the financial backing to test her case, but a lecture at a Jerusalem think tank led to her making contact with a donor who agreed to underwrite an excavation.
Mazar was not the first to make important discoveries in this part of Jerusalem. British archaeologist Dame Kathleen Kenyon, who excavated there in the 1960s, found a portion of a large structure that she thought was part of a casemate wall (two parallel walls divided by perpendicular walls) built by King Solomon in the tenth century B.C.E. Mazar wondered whether Kenyon’s discovery was actually part of David’s palace—a possibility Kenyon apparently never considered because she thought the area was north of Jerusalem’s walls in the tenth century B.C.E. Writing again in our pages, Mazar explains in the accompanying article why her new discovery is the best candidate for David’s palace.