Solomonic Wall in Jerusalem Announced
A large wall dating from the time of Solomon is being announced by the news media (see PhysOrg, Live Science and Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Archaeologist Eilat Mazar linked the structure, near the southeast end of the Temple Mount, to a Biblical passage in I Kings 3:1 that speaks of “until he (Solomon) had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about.” The wall is some 230 feet long and almost 20 feet high. A large tower of carved stones was also identified, and possibly a chambered gatehouse.
Todd Bolen on Bible Places Blog issued some cautions for interpreting the find. It’s not new, for instance; the area was excavated by Mazar and her father in 1986-1987 (see his second post on the story). What is new is dating the structure to the time of Solomon based on pottery and jars found at the site. The jars, with “to the king” inscriptions on them, are some of the largest ever found in Jerusalem.
Even if this is not a “new” discovery, the re-dating of the wall earlier to the time of Solomon is significant. Minimalist schools of archaeology have long argued that David and Solomon were small tribal clans in the Iron Age II and therefore could not have built the large cities ascribed to them. The pictures show otherwise. The construction is massive and sophisticated, suggesting a powerful kingdom was thriving, consistent with the Biblical account (see also the Edom findings from 10/27/2008 and the Qeiyafa inscription from 01/07/2010).