Archaeologists Find Section of First Temple-Period Jerusalem’s City Wall

Archaeologists have uncovered a section of the ancient eastern wall dating to the First Temple period in the City of David National Park, Jerusalem, Israel.

The section of the First Temple-period Jerusalem’s eastern wall. Image credit: Israel Antiquities Authority.

The section of the First Temple-period Jerusalem’s eastern wall. Image credit: Israel Antiquities Authority.

“The city wall protected Jerusalem from a number of attacks during the reign of the kings of Judah, until the arrival of the Babylonians who managed to conquer the city,” said Dr. Filip Vukosavović from the Ancient Jerusalem Research Center and Israel Antiquities Authority arcaheologists Dr. Joe Uziel and Dr. Ortal Chalaf.

“The ruins can be seen in the archaeological excavations. However, not everything was destroyed, and parts of the walls, which stood and protected the city for decades and more, remain standing to this day.”

The newly-discovered section of Jerusalem’s city wall connects two previously excavated sections.

“The reconstruction of the sections makes it possible to trace almost another 30 m (100 feet) of the surviving wall to a height of 2.5 m (8 feet) and a width of up to 5 m (16 feet),” the archaeologists said.

“In the book of 2 Kings, 25:10, there is a description of the conquest of the city by the Babylonians: ‘The whole Babylonian army under the commander of the imperial guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem’.”

“However, it looks like the Babylonians did not destroy the eastern wall, possibly due to the sharp steepness of the eastern slope of the City of David, which slopes towards the Kidron Valley at over 30-degree angle.”

“The signs of the destruction can be seen in the building that stood next to the wall and were exposed during the previous excavations: inside the building, rows of storage jars were discovered, which were smashed when the building burned and collapsed.”

“The jars bear ‘rosette’ stamped handles, in the shape of a rose, associated with the final years of the Kingdom of Judah.”

“Near the wall, a Babylonian stamp seal made of stone was unveiled, depicting a figure standing in front of symbols of the two Babylonian gods Marduk and Nabu.”

“Not far from there a bulla — a stamp seal impression made in clay — was found bearing a Judaean personal name ‘Tsafan.’”


This article is based on text provided by the Israel Antiquities Authority.


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