Aren Maeir has posted a short report from his visit to Eilat Mazar’s excavation in the City of David. 

Mazar just concluded a six-month season and has uncovered more of the monumental building that she believes may be identified with the palace of David.  Maeir says:

The structure is in fact very impressive, and it appears, based on the finds from below this astounding structure, that it was built no later than the late Iron Age I, since no later finds were found in the fills below this structure. Also, in one area, Iron Age IIA pottery was found in a context of secondary construction and use of the building. What this clearly means is that in the verly late Iron Age I, or the very early Iron Age IIA (whether you date this to late 11th/early 10th, or late 10th), there were substantial public architectural activities in Jerusalem. 

Read the whole post and the comments, especially the one by Zachi Zweig.  This is the sort of stuff that newspapers should be covering, not the silly nonsense so often featured.  Mazar’s findings may radically affect our understanding of Jerusalem in ancient times, and that’s without regard to whether she has found David’s palace or not.

Elsewhere, Ronny Reich told a group of us today about some 200 bullae, a beautiful carved pomegranate, and a huge quantity of fishbones that have been discovered in the City of David in the last couple of years.  These are significant because they date to the 9th century B.C. and have Phoenician elements.  Reich suggests that these may be related to influence from the northern kingdom via Queen Athaliah.  An article is due out on this in Qadmoniot (Hebrew) in the near future, with an English translation to follow in another journal.


One of my favorite scholars on matters related to biblical archaeology is Leen Ritmeyer.  I am impressed not only by his scholarship but by his gracious and humble spirit.  As architect for the Jerusalem excavations of Benjamin Mazar and Nahman Avigad, Ritmeyer has sketched many of the reconstruction drawings that you see in books and on posters.  He’s done significant work on sites outside of Jerusalem as well.  I am happy to recommend his work whenever I get the chance.  His latest work is his magnum opus, The Quest: Revealing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.  I’ve been recommending it to students for years, though it only was published last year.

Ritmeyer now has a blog in which he intends to address matters related to the Temple Mount and biblical archaeology.  His first post is a brief response to the new theory by Joseph Patrich which locates the temple facing the southeast on the basis of a cistern.  Ritmeyer’s blog is welcome and recommended!


A representative of Logos Research Systems has contacted me with a note about their Pre-Publication offer for the Near East Archaeology Collection (3 volumes).  The retail price for the set is $430, but they are offering it now for $100.  The three volumes are:

Studies in the Archaeology of the Iron Age in Israel and Jordan, edited by Amihai Mazar (2001).

Urbanism in the Aegean Bronze Age, by Keith Branigan (2002).

Excavations by Kathleen M. Kenyon in Jerusalem 1961-1967, Volume III: 
The Settlement in the Bronze and Iron Ages, by Margreet Steiner (2001).

I was initially reluctant to mention it here because I feel that these are not foundational archaeological works, which most of this blog’s readers probably would be better suited for.  In fact, these books are all quite advanced and I would only recommend them for the scholar, graduate student, or a real nerdy armchair archaeologist.  For me personally, the first volume is the most valuable.  This alone is $150 new at Amazon.  Logos software, of course, offers significant advantages for an electronic edition.

As a Pre-Pub offer, customers get the lowest possible price, as the price goes up once enough orders are received.  If enough orders aren’t placed, the books are never produced.

I’d love to see Logos offer in the future some more foundational archaeological works, such as:

Mazar, Archaeology of the Land of the Bible

Stern, Archaeology of the Land of the Bible, vol 2

Ben-Tor, ed., Archaeology of Ancient Israel

Hoerth, Archaeology and the OT

McRay, Archaeology and the NT

And I would get real excited if they could get the archaeological encyclopedia sets:

The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, 4 volumes

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, 5 volumes

I fear that most/all of these will never happen because publishers tend to be difficult to work with.  It
seems to me that publishing an electronic edition several years after the initial publication is a win-
win situation.