Some Things To Note On the Macalister and Duncan Plans of Field 5

Watch the “Palace of David” video before reading the below remarks.

Firstly, in this plan, the eastern part of the plan should be erased and not considered, as it does not correspond to reality. Secondly, it should be noted that, as in the case of E. Mazar’s excavation, little Late Iron II pottery was found in the M&D excavations, suggesting, as is said by Josephus, a mass removal of Iron II remains in the area of the Akra by Simon the Hasmonean.

Image 1 (plan of “Jebusite” stratum):

Note that the westernmost of the “Jebusite” walls uncovered by M&D is parallel to Wall 107 West and perpendicular to Wall 20/27. This supports the TAU reconstruction of the Large Stone Structure’s plan.

Image 2 (plans of “Hebrew” and “Jebusite” strata):

Note the existence of a corner around the cistern just to the NE of the Hasmonean ritual bath. The combination of this fact and the existence of the “Jebusite” “Inner Wall” noted above is very strong evidence for the TAU reconstruction of the LSS’s plan. Also, note the large elevation differences along the course of Wall 107 pointed out on Page 5 of Finkelstein 2011-if that is not proof of the TAU reconstruction of the LSS’s plan, I don’t know what is. Note that the Early Byzantine “Davidic Wall” follows a completely different course from the “Jebusite” “Inner Wall”. It is difficult to see how Amihay Mazar confused these two features; yet, amazingly enough, he did.

Image 3 (plan of “Hebrew” stratum):

Note the little NE wall, in the areas of Walls 21, 107, 22, and 24. Though the excavators claim that the Hasmonean ritual bath (labeled by them the “stepped cistern”) “cut through” the “Davidic wall” and did not cause any visual unsightliness as it was underground during its period of use, it is clear the “Davidic Wall” was actually built after the disuse of the ritual bath, and was built during the Early Byzantine period as part of the “House of Eusebius”. The Herodian vaulted chamber is not shown as part of M&D’s plans. It was apparently located below the Early Byzantine “staircase” below the “Millo Tower”. A curious Early Byzantine painted figure was found at the join between the “Millo Tower” and the “Davidic wall”.

Image 4 (plans of “Hebrew” and “Herodian” strata):

In the Herodian period, a domestic quarter sprung up to the S. of Eilat Mazar’s excavation area. According to M&D, the floor of the house just to the W. of the House of Eusebius is four feet lower than that of the House of Eusebius, thus suggesting it is Herodian.

Image 5 (plan of “Herodian” stratum):

Numerous cisterns were found to date to this period.
Image 6 (plans of the “Herodian” and “Roman” strata):

The “Roman” period of the excavators is the 4th-5th C AD (the Early Byzantine period). The “Millo Tower” and “Davidic Wall” in reality date to the excavators’ “Roman” period.
Image 7 (plan of the “Roman” stratum)

Several beautiful mosaics were found in the “House of Eusebius“. Numerous lamps were also found to date to the Byzantine period.

Sources for Palace of David Video

Frontal SSS Photo.

Margreet Steiner’s Article.

Tel Aviv School, 2007.

A. Mazar 2010.

A. Faust 2010.

Finkelstein 2011. See esp. p. 7 for IrIIa sherds in the Brown Earth Accumulation.

Gihon area image.

The ashlar blocks and palmette capital in Square A/XVIII.

On proto-aeolic capitals and the impossibility of them being as in E. Mazar’s BAR article (from which I got the photos of the juglet and capital).

Excavate King David’s Palace!

Benjamin Mazar on Armstrong

Armstrongists at Eilat Mazar’s latest excavation.

The LMLK Map, Lapidarist Edition

Above: A map of Lapidarist lmlk impressions. Blue is Hebron, Orange is Ziph, Green is MMST, and Maroon are those with eroded inscriptions.

The concentration of Lapidarist lmlk impressions at Lachish as compared with any other city in Judah is simply staggering (248 at Lachish v. 16 at the next most Lapidarist lmlk impression-bearing site, Beth-Shemesh). Lachish is clearly the second capital of Judah in this period. The above map confirms my point that every piece of pottery at Ramat Rahel was brought there in the 7th C BC or later. The percentage of lmlk Hebron impressions seems to have slightly decreased at Lachish due to the rise of Socoh, but seems to have increased everywhere else. Socoh appears to have replaced Ziph in this phase. While I briefly thought to myself after seeing this map that have there might have been a redistricting of the southern Hill Country when the Socoh lmlk impressions were introduced, I found this to be unlikely due to the fact that in the Cursory phase, Ziph impression incidence seemed to be largest in southern Greater Benjamin and was rather modest at Lachish, while the situation with Socoh is, as one can see, quite different. I also have doubts whether Rabud/Debir (a fortified city of the Hill Country bearing only one M4L impression) was a part of the Socoh district before its destruction in 701 BC.

The distribution of MMSTs is extremely limited in this phase. Eleven M4Ls are known, five of them provenanced. While MMST distribution was already extremely limited during the Cursory phase, in this phase MMST impressions don’t even appear at Jerusalem, and the provenanced MMSTs were found in five major Judahite cities, each in separate areas of Judah (the southern Shephelah, middle Shephelah, Greater Benjamin, and the Hill Country). A probable M4L was also found (somewhat bizarrely) at Beitin, the probable site of the Israelite cult site of Bethel, just N. of of Judah. The distribution of the M4Ls is not just random; it seems to be almost deliberately atypical.

This map also helps demonstrate the likelihood of lmlk Socoh to be the southern Socoh, not the Elah Socoh. Let us take a look at the same map with labels:

Clearly, if lmlk Socoh was Elah Socoh, the Beth-Shemites would have had to have had a very strong distaste for Socoh products, while Azekah and Lachish would have had to have had a far less strong dislike of these same products. If lmlk Socoh was the southern Socoh, the small amount of Socohite products at Beth-Shemesh would simply be explained as a product of its distance from Socoh!

In other news, I experimented with making a jar-mark video (with maps), but it would have to be several minutes long for one to fully see the variance between the distributions of the different phases of jar-marks.

A Fortified Storehouse During the Hezekian Revolt?

Ramat Rahel Vb was an isolated early 7th century BC storehouse near Jerusalem fortified with a casemate wall and filled with lmlk and concentric circle jars. Its being filled with lmlk jars would make it useless during the Hezekian revolt, and, indeed, counterproductive, since it was not connected to any settlement, if full, and would simply be used as a supply station for Sennacherib’s hosts. Thus, any store-jars found at Ramat Rahel must date to after 701 BC. Since there is no point in independently moving hundreds of store-jars from a capital city to a fortified storehouse just outside the capital (or even building such a storehouse in the first place), it only makes sense Ramat Rahel Vb was built by Hezekiah under duress of Sennacherib to house the new Assyrian governor of Judah. Old lmlk jars in Jerusalem were re-used and transported to Ramat Rahel to feed the local governor and his troops. Thus, the similarity of the lmlk type profiles of Jerusalem and Ramat Rahel. The conclusions expressed above were already expressed by Oded Lipschits and his students a few years before.

The Condition of Late Bronze Jerusalem

Jerusalem in the Late Bronze Age was a very small, insignificant settlement. Most LB II pottery was found in fills. However, Jerusalem does show great evidence of scribal literacy, both on local soil, and on finer soil from the Moza area (Amarna letters). Jerusalem in the Late Bronze seems to have been a royal estate and small village , given to Abdi-Heba as capital by the 18th dynasty kings (Amarna letters). It, after all, required very little force to control the mostly non-urban countryside (the nearest significant Late Bronze site to Jerusalem was Rabud).

Where is Ophel?

The Term “Ophel” is used to refer to a hill or ridge (Micah 4:8). Josephus describes it as being “joined to the eastern cloister of the temple” at the south. It seems this “Ophel” should be identified with the area of the Akra of Josephus, due to Josephus’s reference to Ophel and should therefore be identified as being an extension of Jerusalem bordering both the the Temple Mount and City of David, opposite the Water Gate.