King Solomon’s Wall Discovered Outside 2nd Temple Wall

Solomon's Wall Discovered Outside 2nd Temple Wall

INTRODUCTION:

On April 15, 2016, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) passed a resolution (voted in by France,  Spain, Sweden, Russia and Slovenia and submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan) which referred to the Temple Mount by its Arabic term Al-Haram Al-Sharif. While UNESCO seeks to deny or ignore that the Temple Mount has any Jewish heritage, archaeologists have uncovered monumental structures, including a city gate, towers and a royal structure believed to be part of the city wall of Jerusalem, built during the 10th century BCE by King Solomon.


Dr Eilat Mazar - Hebrew University

Dr. Eilat Mazar is head of the Shalem Center’s Institute of Archaeology, affiliated with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is the 3rd in a family of extraordinary Jewish archaeologists. She is the grand-daughter of Benjamin Mazar, who was the first archaeologist to get a permit to dig in the State of Israel. When Israel reclaimed Jerusalam in 1967, Benjamin Mazar began excavating the area around the Temple Mount.

Benajmin Mazar escavating around the Temple Mount 1967
Benajmin Mazar escavating around the Temple Mount 1967

Dr. Mazar participated in archaeological digs from a young age alongside her prominent archaeological grandfather, and like her grandfather demonstrates the reliability of the Hebrew Scriptures by linking archaeological evidence to the text of Scripture.

Eilat at 11 y o working with Benjamin Mazar
Eilat Mazar at 11 years old working with her grandfather, Benjamin Mazar

In 2005 Dr. Mazar headed the excavations at the summit of the City of David (on behalf of the Institute of Archaeology of Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and there she discovered what is believed to have been the palace of King David (who ruled from ~1005 to 965 BCE). She continued digging at this site until 2008.

Israel archeologist at dig
Israeli woman assisting at the dig site
Davids Palace escavation inside
inside David’s Palace escavation site

Within the structure, she found a clay seal (called a “bulla”) bearing in ancient Hebrew lettering the name Jehucal, son of Shelemiah, son of Shovi: an Israelite high-ranking official mentioned twice in the Bible (Jeremiah 37:3 and Jeremiah 38:1).

government seal of Jehucal
clay bulla of Jejucal

In July 2008, she found a second bulla only a few meters away from the first, belonging to Gedaliah, son of Pashur, who is also mentioned as a high-ranking official together with Jehucal (or “Jucal”) in Jeremiah 38:1.

On the eastern side of her City of David excavations, Dr. Mazar uncovered what she believes was Nehemiah’s wall…

Part of Nehemiah's wall
Part of Nehemiah’s wall

…and the water tunnel dug by King Hezekiah

water tunnel dug by Hezekiah
water tunnel dug by Hezekiah

Literally across the street from the City of David, Dr. Mazar has been directing another dig since 2009 (which continues until the present day) and that is the excavation at the Ophel site —  the area adjacent to the City of David; between the Temple Mount and the City of David. Here she uncovered more royal ruins — this time from David’s son Solomon.

In 2010, excavators revealed a giant wall more than 220 feet long, and almost 20 ft high. Dr. Mazar believes this is the wall described in 1 Kings 3:1 which says that Solomon built a wall all around Jerusalem. It connected the City of David with Solomon’s Temple.

Solomons wall outside Herods Temple Mount wall
Solomons wall outside Herods Temple Mount wall – with 2nd Temple wall behind
Solomons wall outside Herods Temple Mount wall - lower down
Solomons wall outside Herods Temple Mount wall – showing height of wall
Eilat Mazar beside Solomon's wall
Eilat Mazar beside Solomon’s wall

Here is a photo showing the area of this dig, in relation to the Temple Mount:

Eilat Mazar dig site outside Herods Temple
Dr. Eilat Mazar dig site outside Temple (Herod’s Temple) wall
The Ophel excavations at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem
The Ophel excavations at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Solomon’s Wall is only part of it…

Inside the wall, there was more evidence tying the site to King Solomon. 1 King 4:7 speaks of Solomon’s governors who provided food for the king and his household (which was very large, given Scripture saying Solomon had many wives). Inside the gate, Mazar’s team found large clay jars which were for holding grain and jar handles whose seals were inscribed “to the King”.

Inside Solomons Temple Gate - large clay jars for grain
Inside Solomons Temple Gate – large clay jars for grain
jar handles - seals inscribed to the king
jar handles – seals inscribed to the king

Dr. Mazar believes the jars of grain came from the royal bakery because on one of them, inscribed in ancient Hebrew are the words “to the Minister in charge of the bakery”.

Carbon dating at the site supports that pottery shards found at ground floor of the structure dated to the 10th century BCE, when Solomon was King.

CONCLUSION:

Based on archaeological evidence, in the 10th century BCE there was a vibrant Jewish civilization in Jerusalem capable of carrying out such advance construction and in which there were many artifacts, supported by carbon dating to be from that time.


 


Dr. Eilat Mazar -Scientific Biography:

EDUCATION

Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ):

1997 – Ph.D. in Archaeology, under the supervision of Prof. E. Stern: “The Achziv Burials: A Test-Case for Phoenician-Punic Burial Customs”

1990 – M.A. in Archaeology, under the supervision of Prof. N. Avigad: “The Ophel of Biblical Jerusalem in the First Temple Period in Light of Archaeological Research”

1981 – B.A. in Archaeology and Jewish History

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

  • Public Committee against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount
  • Archaeological Council of Israel
  • Directorate of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority
  • Government Names Committee

MAIN RESEARCH INTERESTS

Biblical Archaeology
The Archaeology of Jerusalem
The Archaeology of the Phoenicians

EXCAVATIONS AND RESEARCH – most recent

2009- on going project Director of the Ophel excavtions (First Temple Period), HUJ Institute of Archaeology

2005-2008 Director of City of David excavations, HUJ Institute of Archaeology, Jerusalem

1995- on going project Director of the Temple Mount Excavations Publication Project
(B. Mazar Excavations 1968-1978)

2002-2008 Senior Research Fellow, The Shalem Center ,Jerusalem; Director of the documentation of the Temple Mount Walls project and the City of David Excavations


Books by Dr. Eilat Mazar

2011 The Walls of the Temple Mount. Jerusalem (2 Vols)

2011 Discovering the Solomonic Wall in Jerusalem. Jerusalem

2011 The Temple Mount Excavations in Jerusalem, 1968-1978, Directed by Benjamin Mazar, Final Reports, Vol. IV: The Tenth Legion in Aelia Capitolina. (Qedem 52). Jerusalem

2009 The Palace of King David, Excavations at the Summit of the City of David. Preliminary Report of Seasons 2005-2007. Jerusalem

Video about this find: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH9ZDHUyu7A&feature=youtu.be