Biblical Archaeology Review 24:4, July/August 1998
David’s Jerusalem: Fiction or Reality?

It Is There: Ancient Texts Prove It

By Nadav Naʼaman

With unqualified certainty, Margreet Steiner asserts that in the Late Bronze Age (1550–1150 B.C.E.), the period just before the Israelite settlement, there was “no … town, let alone a city” of Jerusalem. As far as the archaeological record is concerned, there is, for that period, “simply nothing.”

Interestingly, this gap in occupation escaped the two modern archaeologists who directed excavations on the spur south of the Temple Mount known as the City of David, the oldest inhabited part of Jerusalem. Neither British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon nor Israeli archaeologist Yigal Shiloh, both highly qualified excavators, seemed to notice this supposed gap in occupation. Their publications show no awareness of a gap of hundreds of years in the pottery repertoire between the Middle Bronze Age (2200–1550 B.C.E.) and Iron Age I (1200–1000 B.C.E.). On the contrary, Kenyon’s preliminary reports date the earliest phase of certain structures to the Late Bronze Age.1 Shiloh also dated potsherds and a specific stratum (Stratum 16) to the Late Bronze Age.2

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