- (Photo: Reuters)
The legendary citadel captured by King David in his conquest of Jerusalem has reportedly been discovered by an Israeli archaeologist, though some critics have questioned linking the discovery to the biblical account.
"This is the citadel of King David, this is the Citadel of Zion, and this is what King David took from the Jebusites," said the archaeologist, Eli Shukron, who worked for Israel's Antiquities Authority before leaving to become a lecturer and tour guide. "The whole site we can compare to the Bible perfectly."
The Associated Press reported that the $10 million excavation took place in the Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem, and was financed by a group that settles Jews in Arab areas of east Jerusalem. The Elad Foundation is also said to be privately funded by Jewish donors in the U.S. And the U.K.
The report added that there is not much dispute among archaeologists in Israel that King David was a historical figure, but they are divided when it comes to the issue of identifying Davidic sites in the ancient city.
Another archaeologist who worked with Shukron at the site until 2008 said that there should be more evidence discovered at the site tying it to King David's reign.
"The connection between archaeology and the Bible has become very, very problematic in recent years," Ronny Reich said, revealing that he only found two shards close to the 10th century BC.
The dig in Jerusalem, which began in 1995, reportedly discovered a large fortification of five-ton stones stacked 21 feet wide.
"Pottery shards helped date the fortification walls to be 3,800 years old. They are the largest walls found in the region from before the time of King Herod, the ambitious builder who expanded the Second Jewish Temple complex in Jerusalem almost 2,100 years ago. The fortification surrounded a water spring and is thought to have protected the ancient city's water source," AP noted.
"The fortification was built 800 years before King David would have captured it from its Jebusite rulers. Shukron says the biblical story of David's conquest of Jerusalem provides clues that point to this particular fortification as David's entry point into the city."
Shukron insists that he came to his conclusion after two decades of work at Jerusalem.
"I know every little thing in the City of David. I didn't see in any other place such a huge fortification as this," the archaeologist said.
In July 2013, archaeologist claimed that they found the ruins of another palace west of Jerusalem that supposedly belonged to King David .
The team from Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Israel's Antiquities Authority carried out a seven-year dig at Khirbet Qeiyafa, where they said they found a large fortified complex that was the first palace of King David in what was once the Judean city of Sha'arayim.
"Khirbet Qeiyafa is the best example exposed to date of a fortified city from the time of King David," said Yossi Garfinkel from Hebrew University and Saar Ganor of the Antiquities Authority. The leaders of the team claimed that there is "unequivocal evidence" of cultic objects that were typically used by King David's subjects, the Judeans.