Jerusalem History through the Eyes of One of its Excavators

Archaeologist Ronny Reich shares his experience excavating Biblical Jerusalem

Read the full original review by Jane Cahill West as it appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review , Jul/Aug 2011

Jerusalem History through the Eyes of One of its Excavators

Archaeologist Ronny Reich, whose book on the City of David explores Biblical Jerusalem history.

Excavating the City of David: Where Jerusalem’s History Began

by Ronny Reich

Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society and Biblical Archaeology Society, 2011, 368 pp.
$49.95

 
There are numerous books and articles written on ancient Jerusalem history; some are broad overviews while others tackle more specific aspects of the ancient city’s various époques. In addition to being historical treatises, most of the texts concerning Jerusalem history are also concerned with its archaeology, and no archaeological site attests to ancient Jerusalem history more than the City of David. The City of David, essentially an ancient city within an ancient city, has revealed more about Jerusalem history than perhaps any other site in the region.

Some of the most interesting voices recounting Jerusalem history today are those of the archaeologists who are—literally and figuratively—in the trenches. While the various accounts of Biblical Jerusalem vary, Ronny Reich’s book Excavating the City of David: Where Jerusalem’s History Began is an opportunity to experience Jerusalem history through the eyes of one of it’s most noted archaeologists. It also, as reviewer Jane Cahill West notes, promises to give an overview of the history of excavations within the city of David, as well as its broader meaning in the context of ancient Jerusalem history.

The City of David is believed to be Biblical Jerusalem, and is the modern city’s oldest settled neighborhood as well as its most famous archaeological excavation relating to ancient Jerusalem history. Located south of the famous Temple Mount, excavations have revealed it to be a Bronze Age walled city. According to traditional Jerusalem history and narratives in the Hebrew Bible, it is the place where King David established his capital and built his palace.

The excavation history of the City of David is almost as colorful as its, well, historical history. Behind-the-scenes politics within the Israel Antiquities Authority made for a less-than-enthusiastic Reich when he reluctantly began excavations in the City of David in 1994 at the IAA’s behest. The road to archaeological discovery is not always easy, and the one that leads through Biblical Jerusalem is perhaps more fraught than most. But ancient Jerusalem history eventually revealed itself for Reich when the steps to the Siloam Pool were discovered in 2004—a discovery related to Biblical Jerusalem that certainly can count itself as one of the most important in the City of David in recent years.

While pursuing Jerusalem history as an archaeologist may be, as Reich will attest, as frustrating as it is thrilling, the next best thing to doing it may be to experience the journey right along with him in Excavating the City of David: Where Jerusalem’s History Began.

 

Read the full original review by Jane Cahill West as it appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review , Jul/Aug 2011

 


 

Excavating the City of David: Where Jerusalem's History Began

Excavating the City of David: Where Jerusalem's History Began

Excavating the City of David: Where Jerusalem’s History Began

by Ronny Reich

Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society and Biblical Archaeology Society, 2011, 368 pp.
$49.95





Read the full original review by Jane Cahill West as it appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review , Jul/Aug 2011

Posted in Daily, Jerusalem.

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  1. Bud says

    Ronny Reich fails to mention the magnificent Projecting Tower discoverd by Charles Warren and, a hundred years later, by Kathleen Kenyon in her Site SII. The header-and-stretcher construction of the tower is unique to Phoenician masons and represents “state” presence from before the late ninth century BCE (similar construction was noted by Kenyon at Omri’s palace in Samaria dating to 880 BCE). The cunieform tablet fragment found near the tower by Eilat Mazar demonstrates the importance of Jerusalem in the Late Bronze Age but is only mentioned briefly in the chronological table at the end of the book. The Pool Tower “turned into a sort of fortified passage leading up to the hill’s summit” and Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron stubbornly continue to call it the Pool Tower. Let’s call it what it is, a segment of the Water Gate. Another fact not mentioned is that Kenyon’s Middle Bronze Age wall, NB, had a cobblestone walkway on top when she first uncovered it. I have learned a lot from this book and appreciate what is included in it but I wonder how so many important things could have been left out.

  2. Avinoam says

    Eilat Mazar, Ronny Reich, and his partner, Eli Shukron are some of the leading archaeologists in Israel. They have uncovered and discovered the ancient City of David.
    Jerusalem was, is and will always be the eternal Capital of the Jewish people.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Eye for Eye Bible : Improve Eyesight Without Glasses linked to this post on September 25, 2012

    [...] 18.Jerusalem History through the Eyes of One of its Excavators – Bible … Jul 23, 2011 … Jerusalem History through the Eyes of One of its Excavators. Archaeologist Ronny Reich shares his experience excavating Biblical Jerusalem … http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/jerusalem-history-through-the-eyes-of-one-of-its-excavators/ [...]


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