WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 2, 2016)—In 2007, prominent Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar was excavating a monumental public building in Jerusalem’s City of David—a structure she believes might be King David’s palace—when one of the ancient stone towers at the site became in danger of collapsing. Believing it necessary to excavate the tower as soon as possible, Mazar halted work on the monumental building to focus attention on the tower. As detailed in “The Interrupted Search for King David’s Palace” by Hershel Shanks in the July/August 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, what Mazar discovered at the tower was well worth the effort.
The prize find from the tower excavations is a cache of more than 100 clay bullae—lumps of clay used to seal administrative and financial documents in antiquity. The bullae, according to Mazar, suggest that “there was a large archive in the palace” and that the capital of Judah was managed by a sophisticated governmental bureaucracy.