JERUSALEM – An ancient stone wall uncovered just outside the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City may be the first structural evidence of biblical King Solomon’s building in the city, an archaeologist said Monday.

”A comparison of this latest finding with city walls and gates from the period of the First Temple, as well as pottery found at the site, enable us to postulate with a great degree of assurance that the wall revealed was built by King Solomon in Jerusalem in the latter part of the 10th century B.C.E.,” dig director archaeologist Eilat Mazar said.

The 19 1/2-foot-high wall and its surrounding complex of a gatehouse and a corner tower were excavated over the past three weeks in a dig conducted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the latest of finds linked to the reign of David and Solomon.

In December 2008, archaeologists found the remains of a walled city over a plain where the Bible claims David killed Goliath, and Yosef Garfinkel of Hebrew University said the find supported the biblical portrayal of David as a ruler of a kingdom strong enough to field an army.

Palestinian archaeologists criticized their Israeli counterparts’ rush to link finds to the Bible. The Old City of Jerusalem houses sites holy to the world’s three monotheistic religions.

The section is in east Jerusalem, which Israel won in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed in a move never internationally recognized. The Palestinians seek the area as the capital of their free state.

The wall discovered this month in Jerusalem ”testifies to a ruling presence. Its strength and form of construction indicate a high level of engineering,” Mazar said.


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