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Eilat Mazar

THE OPHEL EXCAVATIONS


to the South of the Temple Mount
2009–2013
FINAL REPORTS VOLUME II

With contributions by
Gerald Finkielsztejn, Asher Grossberg, Liora Kolska Horwitz, Tzachi Lang,
Omri Lernau, Reut Livyatan Ben-Arie, Hagai Misgav, Jonathan R. Morgan,
Alla Rabinovich, Orit Shamir, Naama Sukenik
6KRKDP

All rights reserved © 2018 Dr. Eilat Mazar


No part of this book, including the photographs, drawings and graphics,
may be copied, translated, reproduced or retained by mechanical,
electronic or any other means without written permission from Eilat Mazar.

Front cover photo: Andrew Shiva

ISBN: 978-965-7726-02-0

Layout: Marzel A.S. — Jerusalem

Print: Old City Press


Printed in Israel 2018
Contents

Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix

PART I. THE HERODIAN PERIOD


CHAPTER I.1 The Herodian Period in the Ophel in Light of the New Excavations of 2009–2013 
Eilat Mazar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
CHAPTER I.2 Area E2011(1994, 2009): Architecture and Stratigraphy Eilat Mazar and
Tzachi Lang . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
CHAPTER I.3 Area A2012: Architecture and Stratigraphy Eilat Mazar and Tzachi Lang . . . . . 43
CHAPTER I.4 Area A2013: Architecture and Stratigraphy Eilat Mazar and Tzachi Lang. . . . . . 73
CHAPTER I.5 Area Upper A2013: Architecture and Stratigraphy Eilat Mazar and Tzachi Lang . . 91
CHAPTER I.6 Areas B2012–2013 and C2013: Architecture and Stratigraphy Eilat Mazar
and Tzachi Lang . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103
APPENDIX A The Herodian Pottery from Areas A–C2012 of the New Ophel Excavations 
Eilat Mazar and Sonia Pinsky . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
CHAPTER I.7 The Large Ophel Pool and the Question of its Use as a Ritual Bath (Mikveh) 
Asher Grossberg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .149

PART II. THE IRON AGE IIB


CHAPTER II.1 The Rule of King Hezekiah in Light of the New Ophel Excavations of 2009–2013 
Eilat Mazar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
CHAPTER II.2 Area A2009: Architecture and Stratigraphy Eilat Mazar and Tzachi Lang . . . . .187
APPENDIX B The Pottery from the Ophel, L09-421b (Area A2009) Eilat Mazar and
Jonathan R. Morgan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225
APPENDIX C Ostraca from the Ophel, Area A2009 Hagai Misgav . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243
CHAPTER II.3 Hebrew Seal Impressions (bullae) from the Ophel, Area A2009 Eilat Mazar
and Reut Livyatan Ben-Arie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 247
CHAPTER II.4 Fabric imprints on the Reverse of Bullae from the Ophel, Area A2009 Naama
Sukenik and Orit Shamir . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
CHAPTER II.5 Iron Age IIB Faunal remains from The Ophel, Area A2009 Liora Kolska
Horwitz and Omri Lernau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 289

PART III. THE EARLY IRON AGE IIA1–2: THE “FAR HOUSE” AT THE OPHEL
CHAPTER III.1 The Fortified Enclosure dated to the Early Iron Age IIA1–2: The “Far House” 
Eilat Mazar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
CHAPTER III.2 The Fortified Enclosure at the Ophel — The “Far House”: Architecture and
Stratigraphy Eilat Mazar and Tzachi Lang . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 325
In Loving Memory of
Prof. Benjamin Mazar (1906–1995)
Head of The Temple Mount
and Ophel Excavations 1968–1978

Prof. Benjamin Mazar and his granddaughter Eilat Mazar during the 1986 Ophel Excavations.

The 2009–2013 excavations at the Ophel are a direct continuation of B. Mazar’s Temple Mount and Ophel excava-
tions, further revealing and vividly bringing to life the tangible, most impressive evidence of ancient Jerusalem.
Preface

T his is the second volume of the final reports of the renewed Ophel excavations, south of
the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount, conducted under my directorship from 2009 to
2013 on behalf of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The
excavation area is part of the Ophel Archaeological Park, directed by the Eastern Jerusalem
Development Company, and comprises part of the Walls Around Jerusalem National Park under
the auspices of the Nature and Parks Authority.
The renewed excavations at the Ophel follow my previous excavations in the area (1986–
1987, 1994), carried out jointly with my grandfather, Prof. Benjamin Mazar, who headed the
Temple Mount and the Ophel excavations for ten consecutive years (1968–1978). The main
goal of these renewed excavations was to reveal First Temple period structural remains of the
eastern fortification line of the Ophel and the stratified remains alongside and adjacent to them,
where their existence was expected to be well preserved.
The first volume of the renewed excavations was published in 2015 and included three
parts. The first two parts addressed the buildings from the Byzantine period and the detailed
study of the unique Jewish Treasure found in one of them. Part three of that volume dealt with
the overall plan and date sequence of the First Temple period royal buildings located along the
eastern outskirts of the Ophel as well as with some of their exceptional finds, such as the bulla
of King Hezekiah found in area A2009.
The present volume of the final reports comprises 17 chapters, ranging from architectural
and stratigraphic reports to in-depth studies of their significance as well as the importance of
their finds, reflecting the wealth of data retrieved during excavations. The volume is divided into
three parts. The first part presents the buildings of the Herodian period (first century CE) along
with a comprehensive study of the large circumferential “Jerusalemite” Mikveh, located in the
center of the excavated area, and its significance. The second part of the volume addresses the
fascinating nature of the stratigraphic accumulated debris found at the foot of the Building of the
Royal Bakers which includes many significant finds. Among these is the bulla of King Hezekiah
himself, and also the bulla belonging, probably, to the Prophet Isaiah, as well as dozens of finds
found next to them and tell the story of the structure from which they were thrown out. The
third part of this volume describes the discovery of a most outstanding structure, the earliest
ever been found in the Ophel, dated to the time of King David. This is a fortified enclosure
that combines the Israelite plan of fortified enclosures-especially those known from the time of
King David at the Negev Highlands-and Phoenician construction techniques, similar to those
seen in the Solomonic buildings at the Ophel.
The next volumes will focus on the several exceptionally well-preserved tenth-ninth cen-
turies BCE buildings, mostly built by King Solomon, and the finds discovered within, which
can now be chronologically related to the various phases within those centuries.
Thanks to the generous donations for the renewed excavations made by Daniel Mintz and
Meredith Berkman of New York, we were able to not only reveal most important stratified
and well-preserved remains of ancient Jerusalem but also to thoroughly process the finds at
the Hebrew University laboratories and conduct major in-depth studies of their significance.
Daniel Mintz and Meredith Berkman also funded the preservation works and the preparation
of the site for the public carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

ix
x T H E O P H E L E X C AVAT I O N S

Significant support to the excavations was provided by Mr. Gerald Flurry, Chancellor of
the Herbert W. Armstrong College of the Philadelphia Church of God, and his son Mr. Stephen
Flurry, President of the College, mainly by sending dozens of students from the College to
fully participate in the excavation’s long seasons. This is our opportunity to thank each and
every member of the H.W. Armstrong College for their hard work and exceptional devotion to
the success of the excavations, and to Mr. Andrew Locher and Mr. Brad MacDonald, faculty
members of the College, for their dedication and support.
Special thanks go to Mr. Stephen Flurry, the president of the H.W. Armstrong College, and
to Jessie Hester, a student of the college with whom I initiated and executed the film series of
the dig (presented online at keytodavidscity.com), including the footage covering the discovery
of King Hezekiah’s bulla.
We would like to express our deepest appreciation to all those who participated in the excava-
tions, some taking part in the actual physical labor and others contributing with a variety of
supporting roles that made the work possible. Without the dedication, hard work and talent of
all involved, we would not have been able to accomplish the tasks at such a highly skilled level:
To the area supervisors Amir Cohen-Klonymus, Ariel Winderbaum and Hagai Cohen-Klonymus
of The Hebrew University and Brent Nagtegaal of the H.W. Armstrong College; the area super-
visors’ assistants Sonia Pinsky, Omrit Cohen, Tzachi Lang and Margo Karlin of the Hebrew
University, and Christopher Eames of the H.W. Armstrong College.
To the architects Alexander (Sasha) Pechuro (2009) and Marcos Edelcopp (2012-2013)
for surveying and preparing the plans, and to Marcos also for preparing the final plans of the
Herodian period in all the areas of the 2012–2013 seasons for publication.
To Tzachi Lang for preparing the final plans of the Herodian period in Area E2009, the Iron
Age plans and distributions of finds in Area A2009, and the final plans of the Iron Age Fortified
Enclosure (the “Far House”) for publication.
To Amir Cohen-Klonymus (2009) and to Yodan Fleitman (2012-2013) for managing the
logistics of the excavations. To Shimon Gasanov for assisting with the measuring and special
logistics.
To the photographers Noga Cohen-Aloro (2009), Rynn Friesen and Jessie Hester of the
H.W. Armstrong College (2012), and Ouria Tadmor (2013) who also photographed the finds in
the laboratory after that season.
Our deep appreciation to Noga Cohen-Aloro, the chief registrar of all seasons; to Avital
Mazar-Tsairi, who organized the data of the numerous finds; and to Tzachi Lang, principal
assistant to the excavation director from 2013 until recently.
Selected, especially significant loci were sent for wet sieving to the wet-sieving facility site
of Emek Zurim directed by Dr. Gabriel Barkay and Zachi (Zweig) Dvira, under the auspices of
the Nature and Parks Authority and the Ir David Foundation. The process of wet sieving rescued
thousands of small finds, which would not otherwise have been found. Our deep appreciation
to Efrat Greenwald, a team member of the Ophel excavations, for managing the sieving of the
material from the Ophel excavations at the Emek Zurim facility (2009–2011), and for directing
the sieving facility at the Ophel excavation site in seasons 2012–2013.
Special thanks go to Noga Cohen-Aloro, Evie Gassner and Jonathan Morgan who prepared
the highly elaborated plates for publication.
We also extend our thanks to Dalit Weinblatt for the particularly fine drawings of the bullae
of Hezekiah and Isaiah.
Many thanks go to Mimi Lavi, Director of the Conservation Laboratory of the Institute
P R E FA C E xi

of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, for her skilled work on many of the
excavation finds.
Special thanks go to Prof. Anna Belfer-Cohen and Prof. Erella Hovers, former Heads of
the Institute of Archaeology, as well as to Smadar Yosef, the Administrative Director of the
institute, for their assistance.
We extend our thanks to Rachel Silverman for her skilled English translations and proof-
reading of some of the chapters. Our deep appreciation and thanks go to Viviana Moscovich,
chief assistant to the excavation director, for her high-level professional editing of the book.
Last, but not least, we extend our profound thanks to Arieh Marzel for the skilled layout of
the volume, and to the Old City Press for the beautiful finished product.
To each and every one, we send our utmost gratitude.

Eilat Mazar
February 2018