3,000-year-old city wall discovered in Jerusalem

February 23rd, 2010 - 1:51 am ICT by IANS  

Jerusalem, Feb 23 (IANS) Israeli archaeologists have discovered a section of an ancient city wall here that is believed to be built by Biblical King Solomon around the 10th century B.C., the Hebrew University of Jerusalem said.
“A comparison of this latest finding with city walls and gates from the period of the First Temple, as well as pottery found at the site, enable us to postulate with a great degree of assurance that the wall was built by King Solomon in Jerusalem in the latter part of the 10th century B.C.,” said excavation director Eilat Mazar.

The city wall, 70 meters long and six meters high, is located near the Mount Temple in the Old City of Jerusalem. Archaeologists also found a royal building and a gatehouse at the site over the three-month excavation, Xinhua reported Monday.

Mazar and her colleagues discovered a large amount of pottery shards, remnants of 1.5-meter-high storage jars, at the ground floor of the royal building. They noted an inscription in ancient Hebrew on one of the jars, which indicates that it belonged to a high-level government official, as well as seal impressions on jar handles with the word “to the king”. Archaeologists believe the jars were used by the monarchy.

“The city wall that has been uncovered testifies to a ruling presence. Its strength and form of construction indicate a high level of engineering,” Mazar said.

The six-meter-high gatehouse has symmetrical structure of four identical small rooms, two on each side of the main passageway.

“Part of the city wall complex served as commercial space and part as security stations,” Mazar explained. It served as a public meeting ground, as a place for conducting commercial activities and cult activities, and as a location for economic and legal activities, she added.

According to the Bible, Solomon was a king of Israel and the builder of the First Temple. The temple, located on the present- day Mount Temple, served as the religious and national center of the ancient Israelis until it was destroyed by the Babylonians around sixth century B.C.

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