Only 6 inches high and badly chipped, the column fragmentappears insignificant. Yet, by comparing it with finds from other sites, Yigal Shiloh was able to conjure an image of its place in the City of David in the eighth century B.C.

Originally, eight carved petals skirted the column’s middle section (drawing, above), and an elegantly curved palmette capital topped it.

Identical columns found at Ramat Rahel, a site halfway between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, have been restored as a palace window balustrade (drawing, above) because such window balustrades were often used to decorate reliefs and ivories throughout the ancient Near East, including the famed “Lady at the Window” ivory from Nimrud (below).

Yigal Shiloh, observing the striking similarity between the City of David column and those found at Ramat Rahel, concludes that the City of David column was probably part of a window balustrade in an important royal or public building near the Temple.