The Ophel Excavations, 1986/Photo: Ilan Sztulman

Gigantic storage jars called pithoi. The lucky discovery of a pithos, one foot below the surface during a test probe, provided the incentive to launch a full-scale excavation of the structure that would come to he known as Building D. When uncovered, the shattered jars—eventually 11 more were found—lay embedded, where they had stood, in vast amounts of earth containing carbonized material (see photograph of jars in situ). In this photograph, Eilat Mazar provides a scale for three restored pithoi, which average more than 3 1/2 feet high and 2 1/2 feet wide. The jars probably stored olive oil or wine, products of the vineyards and olive trees of Judea.