It was archaeological research over the past 150 years that identified Jerusalem’s southeastern hill, outside the Old City walls, as the City of David mentioned in the Bible. In retrospect, this is obviously the case, since this is the only hill in the central Judean Mountains near which a year-round spring flows, and upon which remains from the Bronze and Iron Ages are found. The growing realization that this hill is indeed the most ancient part of Jerusalem led many scholars to excavate there. Since the first excavation, by Charles Warren in 1867, and to the present, 14 archaeological expeditions have dug here, and about 12 archaeological probes have been undertaken. In terms of the number of expeditions, that makes the City of David hill the most excavated site in Israel. British, German, French, and Israeli teams have dug here under four different governments (Ottoman, British Mandate, Jordanian and Israeli), producing an impressive quantity of data. Some of these remains are uniquely important, including the Siloam Tunnel, the Warren’s Shaft system, the Siloam Inscription, the Theodotos Inscription and the Pool of Siloam. This book begins with the chronological story of a century and a half of excavation and study of the City of David hill. It then summarizes the history of the hill from prehistoric times to the renewal of Jewish presence at the end of the Ottoman period. This book was made possible thanks to the initiative of the late Mendel Kaplan, founder of the City of David Society, which conducted excavations at the site from 1978 to 1985. At his behest, the volume is dedicated to the memory of Yigal Shiloh, who directed this first Israeli archaeological expedition to the City of David. Archaeologist Ronny Reich has been excavating and studying Jerusalem’s antiquities for over 40 years. From 1969 to 1978, he was a member of the team, directed by Prof. Nahman Avigad, which excavated Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter. He then joined the Israel Antiquities Authority. In that capacity he excavated in the Mamillah area near Jaffa Gate, where he uncovered tombs from the Iron Age and the Byzantine period. Reich later uncovered Second Temple Jerusalem’s main street, near the Temple Mount and Robinson’s Arch. Since 1995, together with his colleague Eli Shukron, he has been director of the City of David excavations.Reich is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he also wrote his Ph.D. on Jewish ritual baths in the Second Temple period, considered a seminal work on the subject. Since 1995, he has been a professor of archaeology at the University of Haifa. In 2000, Reich was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for Archaeological Research.
EXCAVATING THE CITY OF DAVID Where Jerusalem’s History Began
Year of publication
384 pages; 25.2×19 cm., hard cover; 207 illustrations, most in color. ISBN 978-965-221-082-1