City of David Excavations: Phase 3

During the summer of 2007, five volunteers joined Dr. Mazar’s team in Jerusalem. At first, the volunteers assisted Dr. Mazar in the office, before eventually joining her when she returned to the field to conduct Phase 3 of the City of David excavations. Work particularly concentrated on the attempted repair of a collapsing tower adjacent the Stepped Stone Structure. When it was determined that the tower could not be safely repaired, the area was excavated, allowing for a secure dating for the structure and investigation of the fills beneath.

Major Discoveries

Highlighted are the portions of wall identified as belonging to Nehemiah’s reconstruction efforts. The Northern Tower and related section of wall have been dated to c. 450 B.C.E. The Southern Tower and wall were not able to be dated with the same certainty, but most likely make up the continuation of the same structure that framed the eastern perimeter of the city—Nehemiah’s wall.
Reese Zoellner/Watch Jerusalem

Nehemiah’s wall: At the top of the stepped stone structure, Dr. Mazar and her team discovered that the evidently hastily-constructed, ancient tower (and related length of wall) dated to the middle Persian period—relating to the biblical time of Nehemiah. Could this have been part of “Nehemiah’s wall” mentioned in the Bible? To learn more, read Christopher Eames’s articles, “DISCOVERED: Nehemiah’s Wall.

Gedaliah bulla: “Belonging to Gedaliah, son of Pashur,” is the inscription on this clay seal impression—and it directly corroborates the Bible. According to Jeremiah 38:1, Gedaliah the son of Pashur was one of the Judean princes who opposed the prophet Jeremiah. To learn more about this artifact, read Rachael Grellet and Christopher Eames’s article, “Jeremiah’s Captors Discovered.” Also request our free exhibit brochure, “Seals of Jeremiah’s Captors Discovered.”

“Belonging to Gedaliah, son of Pashur”

Water tunnel: The Bible records that David and his troops conquered Jerusalem by means of a water tunnel beneath the city. Could this 50-meter-long tunnel be the one they used? To find out more, read Rachael Grellet and Christopher Eames’s article, “Joab’s Tunnel?” Also see Stephen Flurry’s article, “Did David Conquer Jerusalem Using This Tunnel?”

Dr. Eilat Mazar holds a light at the end of “Joab’s Tunnel.”
Courtesy Dr. Eilat Mazar