Hanan Shafir

This view looking north across the eastern flank of the City of David reveals the work of three major archaeological expeditions and more than 500 years of the history of Jerusalem. On the far left is a large tower excavated by R. A. S. Macalister in the 1920’s. Macalister dated the tower to the time of David, but in the 1960’s Kathleen Kenyon properly identified the structure as a Hellenistic-Roman tower from the second century B.C. The tower and the wall extending from it to the right, as well as the small tower in the upper center of the picture, were part of a Hellenistic-Roman fortification wall built upon an earlier sixth century wall. This sixth century wall was built by Nehemiah after the Jews returned from exile in Babylonia.

Beneath this Hellenistic-Roman fortification complex Kenyon also discovered, in the lower left center of the picture, the remains of an Israelite house burned in the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem. Stairs leading to an upper terrace which did not survive, a pillar of square drums to the left of the stairs, and fragments of walls may be seen as well as a monolithic stone lying on its side parallel to a narrow wall which abuts the sloping fortification. This stone probably stood upright and supported the roof.

Above the house is part of the underlayers of the later glacis. Originally it was covered with a smooth beaten earth skin so it could not be climbed by an enemy.

The rectangular pits in the right center of the picture are the excavation squares (area G) dug by the expedition in 1978. In the square closest to the viewer the steeply sloping, beaten earth outer skin of the glacis is clearly visible. When this glacis is removed in 1979 it is hoped that more Israelite structures will be revealed beneath it.

Directly below the Macalister tower, out of sight on the lower slope of this same hillside, are the earlier Jebusite wall and the Spring Gihon.