Archaeologist: Here's King David's Citadel

Reports fuel Israel-Palestine controversy
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2014 11:40 AM CDT
Updated May 6, 2014 11:50 AM CDT
Archeologist: Here's King David's Citadel
In this Thursday, May 1, 2014 photo, Eli Shukron, an archeologist formerly with Israel's Antiquities Authority, walks in the City of David archaeological site near Jerusalem's Old City.   (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

An Israeli archaeologist says he's discovered a citadel once captured by the Biblical King David, fueling controversy over his methods and the Israel-Palestine divide. "The whole site we can compare to the Bible perfectly," Eli Shukron says of the find, which emerged in a dig that started in 1995. His team found a 3,800-year-old fortress built of five-ton stones in an Arab area of east Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel in 1967 but is claimed by Palestinians, the AP notes.

A former Shukron collaborator says a lack of pottery that dates to David's time casts doubt on Shukron's theory. "The connection between archaeology and the Bible has become very, very problematic in recent years," Ronny Reich notes. But Shukron stands fast, saying, "I know every little thing in the City of David. I didn't see in any other place such a huge fortification as this." While some critics argue that the Bible shouldn't serve as a guide for archaeologists, others point to political concerns; the organization behind the dig has also been involved with settling Jews in the area. The City of David archaeological area in east Jerusalem garners some 500,000 tourists yearly. (More archeologist stories.)

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