An article this week at The Christian Century doesn’t break any new ground on the political dimensions of the excavations in the City of David, but for those looking for an introduction to the subject, this is an easy place to begin.
The Israelis have continued to dig all around Jerusalem, while the Palestinians have tried to stop digs that they see as infringements on their sacred territory. In the 1990s, Muslims undertook their own dig on the southeast corner of the Temple Mount as part of providing new access to the Marwani Mosque (also known as Solomon’s Stables). The dig was criticized by Israelis for taking place without the proper archaeological supervision, and some Israeli archaeologists charged that the Muslim excavators hid evidence of ancient Jewish presence at the site.
Recently, attention has been focused on a site known as the City of David, which lies just south of Jerusalem’s Old City. Archaeologists are exploring a site on and around the stream of Gihon, a site associated with the origins of the city. Jerusalem, like so many cities, was founded on or near a water source.
The article has a few basic mistakes, and each side will disagree with parts of the presentation, but as an introduction to the subject, it serves its purpose.