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 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.
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.
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.
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).
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…
…and the water tunnel dug by King 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.
Here is a photo showing the area of this dig, in relation to the Temple Mount:
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”.
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.
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:
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
- 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
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