King David's Palace Brings Biblical Account to Life

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JERUSALEM, Israel --  Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar announced to the world in 2005 she had uncovered the ruins of King David's palace in Jerusalem.

Since then, she has excavated various sites in Jerusalem, relying on the Bible to understand what she's found.

Some 3,000 years ago, the entire city of Jerusalem fit on one 12-acre hill. Here in the City of David, you can see part of the wall rebuilt by Nehemiah, the water tunnel dug by King Hezekiah and the pool of Siloam where Jesus healed a blind man.

Today, the City of David is one of Jerusalem's top tourist sites, with close to half a million visitors a year.

"This is one of the most exciting places on earth," Doron Spielman, director of development for the City of David, told CBN News. "People from all over the world come to this place and understand for the first time that what they're reading in the text matches the archaeology on the ground."

The City of David is more than just a tourist attraction. It's also a live archaeological dig. The Bible says this is where King David built his palace, which Mazar believes she's uncovered.

For Eilat Mazar, digging is a family affair. In 1948, her grandfather, Benjamin Mazar, was the first archaeologist to start digging in the newly reborn State of Israel.

And when the Israelis reunited Jerusalem in 1967, he began excavating the area around the Temple Mount. His granddaughter, Eilat, was working by his side when she was just 11 years old.

"What I learned from him…the major thing is that the Bible is part of our historical sources, to be used and re-studied and reexamined again and again, without any offense, or it doesn't object in any way to our scientific archaeological capability, with using the best methods of excavations," Mazar said. "It goes side by side and fits beautifully, and it should."

Like her grandfather, Mazar is uncovering the Jerusalem of the Bible, layer by layer.

In 2005, she started digging in the City of David with one goal in mind.

"King David's Palace!" she said, laughing. "Well, I had my assumptions based on the evidence at the time, and when I started the excavation, it was an open question."

It wasn't long before she found what she was looking for.

"We saw the large walls of some structure, but they were so large that I said, 'Wow, okay, forget about King David's Palace -- we are talking about a fortress here," she continued.

"We realized that this structure, as monumental and impressive as it is, is the first structure ever built on that spot," she continued. "So the question [was] who built this structure and what was this structure built for?"

Mazar soon found her answer.

"We've got a marvelous, marvelous historical source, which is called the Bible," she said. "The core of historical events surely are there."

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