Biblical Archaeology Review 21:1, January/February 1995

Is This King David’s Tomb?

By Hershel Shanks

Can a reasonable case be made that this is King David’s tomb?

Ask any ultra-modern, sophisticated archaeologist and he (or she) will most likely either express disinterest or brush off the possibility with a smile and an emphatic “No.”a Sit down and reason, however, and things begin to change.

Let’s begin with some facts on which all agree:

(1) King David’s Jerusalem was located on the eastern ridge of the city, south of the present Temple Mount, the area called today the City of David. All agree that this is the original City of David and that it is a mere 10 or 11 acres.

(2) There was a widespread ancient belief that corpses contaminate. Israelite law reflects the belief that corpses impart impurity.b Burials were almost always outside, not inside the city.c Royal burials were exceptions.d

(3) The Bible tells us that the kings of Judah from David to Ahaz were buried “within the City of David”—somewhere in this small 10-acre site.e

Join the BAS Library!

Already a library member? Log in here.

Institution user? Log in with your IP address.