She’s an archeologist who says she gets her tips from the Bible. University professor and third-generation archeologist Eilat Mazar recently unearthed a 3,000-year-old wall, an ancient fortification outside of Jerusalem’s Old City walls that dates back to the time of King Solomon.
Her discovery caused consternation among politically correct historians who have declared that King David and his son, King Solomon, are myths, rather like Robin Hood or King Midas. Such theories are popular among academics who don’t accept the authority of the Bible or have an agenda of disputing Israeli claims on the Holy Land.
Mazar shrugs off such revisionist theories. “I work with the Bible in one hand and the tools of excavation in the other, and I try to consider everything,” she says. Such a stance does not increase her popularity with historians who insist the Jerusalem area was inhabited by occasional wandering nomads during King David’s era. Contrary to what the Bible says, they teach, there was no kingdom, no central government, no big cities, no impressive buildings.
Speaking to reporters at the site, Mazar, who also teaches at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, called her find “the most significant construction we have from First Temple days in Israel. It means that at that time, the 10th century, in Jerusalem there was a regime capable of carrying out such construction.”
The fortifications included a large gatehouse and a 77-yard-long section of an ancient wall and are located next to the Temple Mount. Archaeologists have excavated the fortifications in the past, first in the 1860s and most recently in the 1980s. But Mazar’s dig is the first complete excavation and the first to turn up strong evidence for the wall’s age: a large number of pottery shards, which archaeologists often use to figure out the age of findings.
Mazar is a third-generation Israeli archaeologist, specializing in Jerusalem and Phoenician archeology. A senior fellow at the Shalem Center, she has worked on the Temple Mount excavations, as well as excavations at Achzib.
Back in 2005, she discovered in Jerusalem what appears to have been the palace of King David. Amihai Mazar, a professor of archeology at Hebrew University, called the find “something of a miracle.”
“Mazar’s find is emerging at the nexus of history, religion and politics, volatile forces that have guided building, biblical scholarship and war in this city for millennia,” wrote Scott Wilson of the Washington Post newspaper staff. “Even before the findings have been assembled in a scientific paper, the discovery is prompting new thinking about when Jerusalem rose to prominence, the nature of the early Jewish kingdom, and whether the Bible can be used as a reliable map to archaeological discovery.
In 2007 Mazar also uncovered a portion of Nehemiah’s wall, also described in detail in the Bible. She is the granddaughter of pioneering Israeli archaeologist Benjamin Mazar, is a mother of four and resides in Jerusalem.
How does she utilize the Bible in her work? “The Bible tells us that Solomon built – with the assistance of the Phoenicians, who were outstanding builders – the Temple and his new palace and surrounded them with a city, most probably connected to the more ancient wall of the City of David,” she explains.
So, she followed the Bible’s directions, such as in the third chapter of the First Book of Kings where it tells that Solomon had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about. She set about to find them.
So much for the Bible just being mere mythology.
Her discovery proves them wrong and the Bible right. While there is no cornerstone signed “King David” or any clay tablets with Solomon’s autograph, her findings prove that there was a sophisticated civilization at the site of Jerusalem at the time of David and Solomon — during the 10th century before Christ — and that whoever was in charge had the resources, manpower and technology to build massive fortifications.
Such is not the work of wandering shepherds.
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