Eilat Mazar : biography
Eilat Mazar ( born September 10, 1956) is a third-generation Israeli archaeologist, specializing in Jerusalem and Phoenician archeology. A senior fellow at the Shalem Center, she has worked on the Temple Mount excavations, as well as excavations at Achzib. In addition to heading the Shalem Center's Institute of Archeology, she is affiliated with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Mazar obtained her Ph.D. from Hebrew University in 1997. She is the granddaughter of pioneering Israeli archaeologist Benjamin Mazar. She is a mother of four and resides in Jerusalem.
Mazar's Bible-inspired approach has been a source of contention between her and other secular archaeologists.
According to Mazar herself, I work with the Bible in one hand and the tools of excavation in the other, and I try to consider everything., Moment Magazine, April 2006. Accessed via archive.org, 2008-07-29
However, Israel Finkelstein and other archaeologists from Tel Aviv University have flagged concern that, with reference to her 2006 dating of the Large Stone Structure,
The biblical text dominates this field operation, not archaeology. Had it not been for Mazar’s literal reading of the biblical text, she never would have dated the remains to the 10th century BCE with such confidence.Israel Finkelstein, Ze'ev Herzog, Lily Singer-Avitz and David Ussishkin (2007), , Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, 34(2), 142-164
and regarding her identification of the city wall at the site at that time,
As she admits, the chronological data recovered in her excavations indicate that the sole Iron Age fortification system extending in this area was in use during the 8th−7th centuries BCE. However, according to the biblical sources the Solomonic city-wall must have passed here, hence [she maintains] the fortification system in question must be Solomonic in date.
Mazar was also cautioned by epigrapher Ryan Byrne following the 2008 confusion over the inscription on the Shelomit seal,
In the mad dash to report biblical artifacts to the public or connect discoveries with the most obscure persons or events reported in the Bible, there is sometimes a tendency to compromise the analytical caution that objects of such value so dearly deserve.Ryan Byrne, , Biblical Archaeology Review website, 6 February 2008. Accessed 2008-07-29.
- ISSN 0098-9444
- Mazar, Eilat (2004). The Phoenician Family Tomb N.1 at the Northern Cemetery of Achziv (10th-6th Centuries BCE). Sam Turner Expedition. Final Report of the Excavations (Cuadernos de Arquelogia Mediterranea 10), Barcelona.
- Mazar, Eilat (2003). The Phoenicians in Achziv, The Southern Cemetery. Jerome L. Joss Expedition. Final Report of Excavations 1988-1990 (Cuadernos de Arquelogia Mediterranea 7), Barcelona.
- Mazar, Eilat. with Mazar, B. (1989). "Excavations in the South of the Temple Mount". The Ophel of Biblical Jerusalem, Jerusalem.
On August 4, 2005, Mazar announced she had discovered in Jerusalem what may have been the palace of the biblical King David, according to the Bible the second king of a united Kingdom of Israel, who may have ruled in the late eleventh century/early tenth century BCE. Now referred to as the Large Stone structure, Mazar's discovery consists of a public building she dated from the 10th century BCE, a copper scroll, pottery from the same period, and a clay bulla, or inscribed seal, of Jehucal, son of Shelemiah, son of Shevi, an official mentioned at least twice in the Book of Jeremiah. In July 2008, she also found a second bulla, belonging to Gedaliah Ben Pashchur, who is mentioned together with Jehucal in Jeremiah 38:1. The identifications of the four biblical figures in these two bullae are carefully evaluated and found to be very reasonable in Lawrence J. Mykytiuk, "Corrections and Updates to 'Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200-539 B.C.E.,' " Maarav 16/1 (2009), pp. 85-100. The dig was sponsored by the Shalem Center and financed by an American investment banker. The land is owned by the Ir David Foundation., The New York Times by Steven Erlanger, August 5, 2005.
Amihai Mazar, a professor of archeology at Hebrew University, and Mazar's cousin, called the find "something of a miracle". He has said that he believes that the building may be the Fortress of Zion that David is said to have captured. Other scholars are skeptical that the foundation walls are from David's palace.
In 2007 Mazar uncovered what she suggested was Nehemiah's wall., The Jerusalem Post by Etgar Lefkovits, November 28, 2007
In 2010 Mazar announced the discovery of part of the ancient city walls around the City of David which she believes date to the tenth century BCE. According to Mazar, "It's the most significant construction we have from First Temple days in Israel" and "It means that at that time, the 10th century, in Jerusalem there was a regime capable of carrying out such construction." The 10th century is the period the Bible describes as the reign of King Solomon. . Not all archaeologists believe that there was a strong state at that time, and the archaeologist Aren Maeir is dubious about such claims and about Mazar's datingJerusalem city wall dates back to King Solomon, Jerusalem Post, Fe. 23, 2009,
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