3,700-Year-Old Wall Found in Yerushalayim


digging yerushalayimArchaeologists digging in Yerushalayim have uncovered a 3,700-year-old wall that is the oldest example of massive fortifications ever found in the city, the Israel Antiquities Authority says.

The 26-foot-high wall is believed to have been part of a protected passage built by ancient Canaanites from a hilltop fortress to a nearby spring that was the city’s only water source and vulnerable to marauders.

The discovery marks the first time archaeologists have found such massive construction from before the time of Hurdus, or Herod, the ruler behind numerous monumental projects in the city 2,000 years ago, and shows that Yerushalayim of the Middle Bronze Age had a powerful population capable of complex building projects, said Ronny Reich, director of the excavation and an archaeology professor at the University of Haifa.

The wall dates to the 17th century B.C., when Yerushalayim was a small, fortified enclave controlled by the Canaanites, one of the peoples the Torah says lived in Eretz Yisroel before Bnei Yisroel took over the land. The kingdom of Dovid Hamelech in Yerushalayim was some seven centuries later.

A small section of the wall was first discovered in 1909, but diggers have now exposed a 79-foot portion, and Reich believes it stretches much further. Reich said budget constraints related to the global financial crisis put an end to the excavation, at least for now.

“The wall is enormous, and that it survived 3,700 years – this is, even for us, a long time,” Reich said. It was remarkable that a fortification of this kind was not dismantled for later building projects, he said.

“When you just stand there and see it, it is amazing,” he said.

The wall and other archaeological finds at the site were opened to the public beginning today, the Antiquities Authority said.
Archaeological research at the site known as Ihr Dovid, just outside the walls of Yerushalayim’s Old City, is caught up in the struggle for control over the city.

The archaeological site, one of the richest in a country full of ancient remains, is in the midst of a Palestinian neighborhood in east Yerushalayim.

{The Boston Globe/Elisha Ferber-Matzav.com Newscenter}