Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Extraordinary Original Kotel!

Tension, war and divergent world views juxtapose excitement at the City of David where opinions of archaeologists, students and operators are converging as excavations illustrate and inform long held narratives and traditions. This crucial land, immediately south of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount is fast becoming one of the most important excavations in history because Judaism, Christianity and Islam are directly vested in its outcome.

Ancient walls were built for many reasons, but a recent east facing wall discovered at the City of David was built to protect the ancient city. However, the soft earth discovered at its footings was deliberately placed to conceal important bedrock artifacts in the area immediately in front (east). These unique areas have not seen the light of day for more than 2600 years. The archaeological signs suggest that the concealed area behind the wall (west) housed the Ark of The Covenant where it would have rested for several decades before it was re-located to the Temple built by King Solomon.

Who built this First Temple period wall remains a mystery, but pinning down the responsible King will establish many supporting theories that interconnect and color the narrative. I constructed the visual collage below to compare the map archaeologist Montague Parker sketched almost 100 years ago when the bedrock was more accessible than it is today. I placed excavation images on the rendition backdrop of the Gihon Spring House (bottom right of image) demonstrate the context. As new discoveries are being made, Parker's map (below) detail evidently depicts overlapping features at various layers of earth from the top of the hillside to the valley floor..
The A Wall (above ground wall) was exposed for the first time in July 2014, but the B Wall (below ground wall), which was uncovered in 2008/9 remains housed below temporary ground covering. The present excavation boundary, of the underground B Wall stopped at its East facing wall. The new excavation objective of the above ground A Wall is to obtain western access behind the wall to assess the undiscovered archaeological features of the circled Area ‘G’ (also marked as G on the Parker map) and beyond.

3D Parker.JPG

In the upper left image marked ‘A’, I recently stood on the wall’s parapet inspecting the latest discovery and checking its relationship to the Parker Map. Area ‘B’ are the now familiar bedrock ‘V’ markings probably used to facilitate the dissection and preparation of sacrificed animals. Area ‘C’ is the matsevah (monument), which I believe was erected by Jacob. Area ‘D’ is the underground ziggurat structure leading from the Gihon pool to the upper ridge. I believe this was also constructed by Jacob almost 1000 years before the city wall was constructed. The cave home at Area ‘E’ (‘K’ on Parker’s map) may have been constructed by Shem, the RIghteous King of Salem several hundred years before Jacob’s constructions at this site.

The Wall.JPG

At this point it remains possible that area ‘G’ (on Parker’s map) is a room that is also capable of qualifying as a frame of the ramp to an altar. Frames like this were once filled with local stones and rocks during occasional sacrifices brought periodically through centuries of use. The area on which the lower section of the wall (The B Wall) is built will be revealed by the present excavation that will shortly allow archaeological teams to investigate its western face from the west.

This western wall face would not be the same as its famous Kotel counterpart the Wailing Wall, but an excavation that develops in the direction suggested would rapidly make an historical and spiritual dwarf of everything constructed on the Temple Mount higher up the mountain. It would be very hard for archaeological academia or intellectual students of Torah to ignore the signs appearing at the City of David, at some point they will be compelled to establish a view. As things stand, I’m convinced and if you don’t get the magnitude, follow the links in this article to learn more.