Jerusalem Municipality orders halt to City of David excavations
The crack in the kindergarten wall
Photo source: Kobi Gideon
for Baubau/Haaretz Meron Rappaport for Haaretz reports (English and Hebrew) that the Jerusalem municipality issued a warrant ordering excavations by the Ir David Foundation to be halted:
Kindergarten management said they fear the building will collapse and that if disaster struck they will hold the municipality and those running the excavations responsible.
The kindergarten operates in the courtyard of a mosque in the Wadi Hilwe neighborhood of the East Jerusalem suburb of Silwan. The excavations funded by the Elad association for Jewish settlement of East Jerusalem take place a few meters away from the mosque.
The excavations nearby the kindergarten
Photo source: Kobi Gideon for Baubau/Haaretz The Hebrew article includes a little tidbit that the excavations are near the Siloam pool, which suggests the excavations are those conducted by Ronny Reich and Eli Shukran, currently focusing on probably late 9th century BCE remains in the Siloam pool.
Rena Rossner reported in The Jerusalem Post a few months ago that
Reich's and Shukran's digging has unearthed valuable finds. Most recently, they have uncovered over 60 bullae (broken clay seals) and six stamps used to seal letters, attesting to the fact that literacy and a system of administration were in place in Jerusalem as early as the ninth century BCE.
They have also discovered thousands of fish bones that, together with the bullae were found in an area that Reich and Shukran believe to be the Shiloah Pool, used as a ritual bath for the Temple Mount, and a tiled road which ends at the pool and has its origins near the Temple Mount. Ostensibly, this is the road that worshipers used to go back and forth between the Shiloah Pool and the Temple Mount.
The excavated pool and the steel scaffolding
Photo source: The Jerusalem Post To support the excavation, a huge steel scaffolding system was constructed underneath. My understanding was that right now, the remains found at the site were still being very carefully sifted for the bullae, seals, and fish and animal bones, so I am not sure if any true further excavations have been made.
- "True size of Pool of Siloam discovered due to sewer blockage," Haaretz Dec 23, 2005.
- "The Once and Future City," by Rena Rossner, for The Jerusalem Post Jan 30, 2006.
- City of David website (Hebrew)
A nice website, including articles (in Hebrew), photographs, and a model showing how the City of David evolved through the ages. Worth visiting even if you don't read Hebrew.
- Hebrew scholarship relating to the City of David, from the City of David website. The articles are in pdf form but do not include attached figures and images.
- A Hebrew-language "virtual tour" of the City of David (wmv format), from the Maariv website.