The City of David: The Excavation of Jerusalem History

An account of Biblical Jerusalem through a narrative of its most important excavation

Read the full original review by Jane Cahill West

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.

The City of David: The Excavation of Jerusalem HistoryWhile the various accounts of Biblical Jerusalem vary, Ahron Horovitz’s book City of David: The Story of Ancient Jerusalem is much lauded by its reviewer Jane Cahill West for both its lavish illustrations as well as its concisely written summaries of debates surrounding certain interpretations of Jerusalem history that are based on some of the excavation’s more controversial discoveries.

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 City of David: The Excavation of Jerusalem History

BAS Director of Educational Programs Sarah Yeomans explores Jerusalem history beneath the City of David in Hezekiah’s tunnel, one of Biblical Jerusalem’s most impressive structures.

Other than King David, perhaps the most famous king to rule Biblical Jerusalem from this site was King Hezekiah, under whose direction the walls were expanded to the west to incorporate more of the outlying area into the protective confines of the city’s defenses. Jerusalem history tells of Hezekiah’s ambitious plan to build a subterranean tunnel underneath the city that would connect the Gihon Spring outside the city walls to the Siloam Pool inside the city in order to provide water to the city during an anticipated siege by the Assyrians. Ancient Jerusalem history gave scholars of the 19th century reports of the legendary structure, but archaeology confirmed it: The engineering marvel that Hezekiah constructed was discovered in 1838 by a scholar of Biblical Jerusalem named Edward Robinson.

Tourists from all over the world eager to explore the material remains of Jerusalem history come to experience Biblical Jerusalem for themselves at the site, which is now a national park as well as an active and ongoing excavation. It is accessible to both public and scholars of ancient Jerusalem history alike, but not everyone may have the opportunity to visit the excavation and see Biblical Jerusalem firsthand. Based on Cahill’s review (included below) of City of David: The Story of Ancient Jerusalem, it would seem that this beautifully compiled coffee table book may just be the next best thing.

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