Zev Radovan

A patchwork of excavated remains slopes down from the 900-foot-long southern wall of Jerusalem’s ancient Temple Mount. Perpendicular to the southern Temple Mount wall, another, later wall, to the left of center in the photo, interrupts the site of the excavations; the Temple Mount wall continues west, beyond this later wall. Where this later wall meets the Temple Mount wall, monumental steps mount to a double-arched exit gate, now sealed. To the right (east) of these steps, three arches of another gate, also sealed, provided entry to the Temple Mount in Herodian times. Similar steps, 50 feet wide, led up to this triple gate.

The Temple Mount excavations, directed by Benjamin Mazar, exposed nine acres of Jerusalem’s history—dating from the Iron Age, through Herodian, Byzantine, Turkish, Crusader, Mameluke, and even Ottoman times. Yet, relatively few remains from the First Temple Period (tenth to sixth centuries B.C.) came to light.

Now, author-archaeologist Eilat Mazar, granddaughter of Benjamin Mazar, has discovered dramatic evidence of First Temple Jerusalem, including a structure that may be a gatehouse in the city wall, leading to the royal quarter. The gatehouse was discovered in the area close to and within the crook of the road at lower left in this photo. This area lies on the Ophel—a narrow ridge connecting the Temple Mount to the north, top right, with the City of David, out of sight, bottom left.