Excavation in the past: 2007-2012

Since 2007, Doron Ben Ami from the Hebrew University and Yana Chakhanovitch from the Antiquities Authority have been excavating in the Givati Parking Lot next to the entrance to the City of David. They took over the management of the excavation that had begun a number of years earlier by Reich and Shukrun and that had been stopped. It is the most extensive archaeological excavation in Jerusalem today, and it reveals the layers of the city’s life from the Middle Ages back to the ancient times inside the Tyropoeon Valley. Their main finds are cellars of a large residential building from the time of the end of the Second Temple that may have been part of a royal complex that belonged to Queen Helena of Adiabene, a queen who converted to Judaism, and lived in the city during this period. In addition, a huge residential building (about two dunams in area) from the Roman period in which a pearl-encrusted gold earring and a Roman boxer’s weight were discovered. In a nearby building, From the Byzantine period, 264 gold coins were discovered from 613 AD, on the eve of the destruction of the city by the Persians. Several settlement layers from the Muslim period were discovered above all this.

In 2013, Dr. Doron Ben Ami uncovered a wall, a tower, and a slipway, including arrowheads, sling stones, and other findings, which he claims are part of the fortification of the “Acra” – a Seleucid citadel known to us from historical sources as the Seleucid stronghold against which the Hasmoneans fought in Jerusalem. Other researchers believe it to be a Hasmonean fortification, perhaps against further Seleucid attacks.

In 2018, an impressive two-story building from the time of the First Temple, which caught fire and collapsed during the destruction of the First Temple, in 586 BCE, was uncovered by Dr. Yiftach Shalev from the Antiquities Authority and Prof. Yuval Gadot from Tel Aviv University. A luxurious floor was discovered inside the building, which helps to calibrate advanced research tools for the dating of archaeological finds, and hundreds of magnificent pieces of ivory decorations were also discovered. A seal impression bearing a biblical name known to us from the time – Nathanmelech, was also discovered. He was the king’s servant, and it may be Nathanmelech who was a eunuch in the court of King Josiah (Kings 2, 23:11). Also, a seal bearing the name Acher ben Matanyahu was discovered in the building, from that period. Remains from the Persian period were discovered inside the building, reflecting the period of the return to Zion, as it is described in the book of Nehemiah: Babylonian immigrants who return after the destruction, live among the ruins, and try to rebuild Jerusalem.


Dr. Doron Ben Ami

Dr. Doron Ben Ami, from the Institute of Archeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specialized in the Iron Age and wrote his research on Hazor in the tenth century BCE and the entire Galilee during this period. He published research from his many years of participation in the excavations of the city of Hazor in the north of the country, under the direction of Prof. Amnon Ben Tur.

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