Strange Markings Puzzle City of David Archaeologists

Bible and archaeology news

Excavations near the Gihon Spring in Jerusalem’s City of David have uncovered three strange V-shaped markings that have archaeologists completely stumped. The mysterious shapes, which each measure about 1.5 feet in length, are carved into the bedrock floor of a room that was in use, according to dated pottery sherds, until at least the late ninth century B.C.E. Unfortunately, the excavation has found few clues to indicate either the meaning or function of the carvings, while only one other example, discovered more than a century ago in a nearby underground channel that remains unexcavated, has ever been recorded in Jerusalem.

“The markings are very strange, and very intriguing. I’ve never seen anything like them,” said Eli Shukron, of the two directors of the ongoing excavation. Shukron speculates the markings may have helped support some kind of wooden structure within the room, although its equally possible they could have had some either ritual or purely mundane function.

Strange Markings Puzzle City of David Archaeologists

Excavations near the Gihon Spring in Jerusalem’s City of David have uncovered three strange V-shaped markings that have archaeologists completely stumped.

 

Read more about the puzzling markings.

Posted in Jerusalem, News.

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  1. me says

    honest truth: i got a tattoo in 96 it has a red running horse and says 70 mustang ..the letters look like those symbols…anyone that knows me can back me up.. that is soooooo weird

  2. Genesis says

    That site was very suitable for a stronghold, since it was protected by deep valleys on three sides, on the W the Tyropoeon Valley, and on the E the Kidron Valley, which joins the Vally of Hinnom at the southern end of the spur. The city required major protection only from the N, and here the ridge became even narrorwer, making an attack extremely difficult. The northern boundary of this City of David has not yet been definitely established, though some scholars recommend as likely the above-mentioned narrow place. Over centuries, debris has filled in the valleys to a great extent, making the strategic location and strength of this site less notable.
    In the Kidron Valley near the foot of the eastern flank of the spur on which the stronghold sat, here was a spring called Gihon. Archaeological excavations indicate that in ancient times a tunnel or shaft was cut through the rock, making access to the spring possible without leaving the city walls. It has been suggested that it was by climbing up the shaft that Joab and his men were able to penetrate the stronghold and take it.

  3. Bud says

    The smooth limestone floor may have been used for the mundane task of doing the laundry. The carvings in the floor were functional (note the rounded edges) and aided in the cleaning process. The pottery evidence indicates use in the 8th century BCE or earlier and there is mention of the fullers from that time in the Bible. II Kings 18:17 – “…they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller’s field”. It is the next verse that helps us to see that the place being described is near the house of the king. II Kings 18:18 – “And when they had called to the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household… . This “laundry room” is conveniently located between the palace, on top of the ridge, and the upper pool, next to the gihon spring. We may now have the first archaeological evidence of Jerusalem’s fullers! (see also Isaiah 36:2 and 3)

  4. Rafael says

    Rafael Montesinos
    This was a well. These marks are not letters, or symbols. Apparently these marks were left there once the objects that were embedded in the ground, made of wood or metal were removed. Those elements no longer exist, but left traces. Those elements were embedded on the ground for stability.

  5. Bill says

    This could be instructions, directions, information on danger, depth or where to enter ‘Gihon Spring’. See Unger’s Bible dictionary, pg 406. Study II Chron. 32:2,4,30
    40 foot deep shaft to water. In pool 50 ft. back from Gihon. Study water supply in Kedron Valley, just below Eastern Hill.

  6. Bob says

    It looks like the markings are large enough to be viewed through the doorway. I wonder if they may be a symbol to identify a type of shop like three spheres suspended would identify a pawn shop.

  7. Michael K. says

    It would be of use to know; what the possible, original, use of the room may have been, & if the marks are oriented to the door, or entry. Also, in what compass direction do the lie ? It could be that they are, as many sites have similar marks; of symbols of mountains-or ‘earth’-, & the single ‘V’ indicating the Higher power-God. Especially, if the small mark next to it is, as I found in an old collegiate alphabet listing, that includes Hebrew; an ‘ aleph ‘. I know Heb. is read from right to left. I wonder if the ‘V’ to the right of the lower set could have been modified at some point to become a Phoenician style ‘A’, which might indicate a dedication to YHWH, in light of some definitions that, originally a ‘ mountain God ‘, YHWH became a God of the Peoples. Perhaps at some point, when Phoenician influence & trade became prevalent, someone modified that ‘V’, in essence, producing an ” Alpha ” ( The Beginning ” ), & with the aleph next to the top ‘V’ became sort of an ” Alpha & Omega ” idea in a dedication of that room, or building’s use to Him ? I have noted the zig-zag lines on the Grange Burial Site in Ireland & have often thought that indicated an implied’ interaction between the powers of Heaven & Earth, or; Father Sky-Mother Earth type of understanding. Maybe, with the Hebrew’s legacy, something closer to their( & our) understanding & recognition of God can be seen here. I think the room’s original use may have been, at least, dedicated to YHWH’s benefit. Thanks for including us in the search for meanings, & please allow us more opportunities !

  8. Allan says

    Without inspecting the site of the “V” shaped carvings and sighting a detailed plan of the area and its proximity to the the Gihon Spring, it is difficult to definitely identify their purpose. Two things are known though with certainty. 1. The area was in pre-Israelite times a source of water and after the capture of the city of David it remained an important source of water for the city there being only one other source of water for the city at that time.
    2. The Spring of Gihon was tapped by a surface canal running along the Torrent Valley of Kidron to the Pool of Siloam. Isa 8:5-8. Later in King Hezekiah’s reign (732 B.C.E.) a tunnel was dug measuring 533m connecting the Spring of Gihon to the Pool of Siloam.
    As the site of the Spring of Gihon has recently been more extensively excavated it appears that a pool may have existed at its source thus assisting persons to lower collection vessels from the ledge above the water source by the tunnel discovered by Charles Warren.
    The site in and around the Gihon Spring has been the site of extensive engineering works mainly to secure the cities inhabitants access to water. Therefore,the “V” shaped markings appear to have in the past served as a engineering aid and it is suggested that they were a early form of “spirit level” in which water was poured into the grooves of each “V” shape and the level could be determined by sighting the level of all three grooves. A similar form of improvised “spirit level” was adopted by the Egyptians and these grooves appear to be a later adaption and improvement of the principle. The location of he grooves and the stone may not be in its original location and may have been moved for other building purposes. The BAR article stated,”There appears to be at least one other ancient marking of the same type at the site. A century-old map of an expedition led by the British explorer Montague Parker, who searched for the lost treasures of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem between 1909 and 1911, includes the shape of a “V” drawn in an underground channel not far away. Modern archaeologists haven’t excavated that area yet”. This quote seems to lend support to “V” markings being used in other carved channels to assist in determining levels for engineering purposes.

  9. Michael K. says

    Hello again ! Allan’s words are interesting. The water level concept may very well be valid. Good research diggin’ Allan ! I can see a mason, utilizing an ‘on-the-spot’ technique such as that. A case of materiels at hand. Tho’ the working tools of masonry were known anciently, incl the level, square & plumb. In fact, these tools & others were found under the obelisk that was given to the United States, by Egypt & is now in New York’s Central Park & referred to as; ‘ Cleopatra’s Needle’.( Google that-great info ). On the subject of the masons who constructed this edifice, most especially the layers of the foundation’s stones; Beyond Allan’s, & even my own previous words ( Mar 7 ), I’ve seen that masons inscribed their marks on the works they handled, such as the massive Temple’s foundation stones, where they were discovered some years ago. Perhaps they were modified & served 2 purposes; one-to determine level, two; later,identifying mark of the involved ‘ Master Architect. It’d be interesting to know what may be inscribed upon the lower layers of foundation stones, perhaps those of the Apprentice Masons ?! Again,Thanks for this opportunity ! Michael K.

  10. Scott says

    I think that these structures could have been used to bend wood into the spokes of chariot wheels. Cheriot wheel spokes were made by steaming wood and bending it into a V shaped structure. The V’s were then bound together alone each arm of the V to make 6 completed spokes. In the image, the angles appear to be progressively more acute, which makes sense because the wood could then be propgressively bent and then allowed to cool and then steamed and bent again. The square boxes at the tips of the one V could have been used to wedge the first piece into place. The V would then need to be cut to the appropriate length and then bent into its final configuration. If so, the angeles need to be about 60 degrees. If you are steaming alot of wood why not do so near a spring ?


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