Zev Radovan

Many centuries of Jerusalem’s history press together in the various structures shown in the photo above, taken on the eastern slope of the City of David. The stone mantle covers what is known as the Stepped Stone Structure. There is disagreement over when it was completed, but Jerusalem archaeologist Jane Cahill has argued persuasively in these pages that it was built in the 13th-12th centuries B.C.E. to support an important structure higher up on the slope. The two columns just left of center and rooms adjacent to it date to the tenth-to-sixth centuries B.C.E., while the corner section at upper right was thought to date to the Persian period (late sixth-fourth centuries B.C.E.). Just how large Jerusalem was during the Persian period, after the exiles had returned from Babylonia, is a matter of scholarly debate.