BAR 35:02, Mar/Apr 2009
First Person: The Palace of Solomon’s Daughter?
When is it OK to suggest that an ancient building belonged to a particular historical figure—that is, barring an inscription saying something like “Solomon lived here”?
The best known recent example raising this question is archaeologist Eilat Mazar’s suggestion that the building she has excavated with walls 7 to 11 feet thick might well be King David’s palace in Jerusalem.a She was led to the site by geographical and Biblical clues and predicted in an article that an excavation would show that she was indeed correct.b As a result a sponsor came forward, and when she dug at the site, she found a major public building that appeared to be from King David’s time. The dating of the structure is not 100 percent certain, but that is often the case in archaeology. She has yet to find a datable floor that connects to a wall of the structure, but the pottery makes it likely that the building, or at least part of it, dates to King David’s time, according to the conventional chronology.