Garo Nalbandian

The palace gateway area at Ramat Raḥel faces east. The forecourt (center in photo) was paved with crushed lime. The high quality of the palace’s construction is evident in the three extant courses at left. The shaped stones were so exactingly cut that no mortar was needed to bond them to each other; even today the stone blocks fit so snugly that not even a knife blade can be placed between them. Author Barkay calls the Ramat Raḥel palace the finest structure ever unearthed from First Temple period (mid-tenth–early-sixth-century B.C.E.) Judah.

In the background (upper right in photo) are three replica capitals (see photo, p. 39) and one of four stylized sculptures of falling building stones, modern creations that mark the corners of the ancient palace.