Photo of area by Eilat Mazar; photo of statue by Erich Lessing/Art Resource, N.Y.
In this composite electronic image, a statue of King David seems to hover above a building that may have been his palace.
There can be little doubt that King David had a palace. The Bible tells us that Hiram of Tyre (who would later help King Solomon build the Temple) constructed the palace for David: “King Hiram of Tyre sent envoys to David, with cedar logs, carpenters and stonemasons; and they built a palace for David” (2 Samuel 5:11). Nine years ago I wrote an article in BAR suggesting where, in my opinion, the remains of King David’s palace might lie.1 I proposed looking in the northern part of the most ancient area of Jerusalem, known as the City of David.
I was struck by this idea while engaged in other research on the archaeology of Jerusalem. I had noticed the findings of the well-known British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon, who dug here in the 1960s. In her Area H, at the northern end of the City of David, Kenyon discovered a section of a massive public structure that she considered to be part of a new casemate walla built by King Solomon. She dated the wall, on the basis of the pottery associated with it, to the tenth century B.C.E., the time of King David and King Solomon, according to the Bible. Kenyon was quite knowledgeable about Jerusalem pottery of the First Temple period, and, although she could not distinguish with assurance between pottery sherds of the tenth and the ninth centuries B.C.E., she was quite capable of distinguishing pottery sherds from those centuries (which belong to the period archaeologists call Iron Age IIa) from sherds of the eighth and seventh centuries B.C.E (Iron Age IIb). The pottery sherds she excavated in Area H were not of the later types. Perhaps this casemate wall, I speculated, was part of David’s palace.