Ophel Excavations: Phase 2a

The 2012 excavation ran from August through December, throughout which Armstrong College supplied 17 laborers and support staff. During this phase, Dr. Mazar and her team reached Iron Age layers. In addition to supplying laborers for the excavation, AIBA assisted Dr. Mazar with processing the finds and preparing the final report for publication. A detailed synopsis of the major discoveries from all three phases of the Ophel excavations can be found in our article, “Discoveries of Eilat Mazar: The Ophel.”

Major Discoveries

Pithos inscription: Dating to the 11th-10th century b.c.e., this fragment of pottery bears the oldest alphabetic writing ever discovered in Jerusalem. To learn more, read Rachael Grellet and Christopher Eames’s article “The Oldest Writing in Jerusalem.”

Ouria Tadmor/Copyright: Eilat Mazar

Proto-Aeolic pillar capital: One side of an ornately carved pillar capital (a stylized stone placed atop a pillar to provide stability) was discovered by Dr. Mazar’s team. The early, recognizable proto-Aeolic form (an example of which is shown below) testifies to the skilled craftsmanship and royal use of this architecture during the First Temple period. To learn more the presence of these capitals in Jerusalem, read Eleanor Clarke’s article “Proto-Aeolic Capital Points to King David’s Palace.”

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Amalyah Oren

Herodian ritual baths: Used anciently for ritualistic purification, these stone structures—about a dozen of which were discovered within the 2012 excavation Ophel excavation site—point to the proximity of and service surrounding Jerusalem’s second temple. To learn more, read Christopher Eames’s article “Jerusalem’s Temples: The Archaeological Evidence.”