"Brit-Am Now"-20

"Brit-Am Now"-20
1. Archaeology: The Great Extent of Ancient Jerusalem

Date: 05/22/2002 6:45:31 PM Central Daylight Time


In our studies we noted that archaeological finds indicate that Jerusalem
received some refugees from the Northern Kingdom
that was destroyed by the Assyrians.
We are also studying the Book of Jeremiah and there too we noted that many
people from the outlying areas of Judah took refuge within Jerusalem.
The following report confirms that Jerusalem did indeed increase greatly in
size in the period under consideration.

w w w . h a a r e t z d a i l y . c o m

Minimalists and maximalists in JerusalemArchaeologist Gabriel Barkai thinks
that Jerusalem at the end of the First Temple period covered a total of
some 900 dunamsArchaeologist Gabriel Barkai of Bar Ilan University's Land
of Israel Studies Department has a particularly expansive theory about the
dimensions of Jerusalem in the First Temple period. Barkai says that most
archaeologists agree that at the end of that period - from the eighth
century B.C.E. until the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 587
B.C.E. - the city grew at a scale unlike anything known in any other place
in the history of Eretz Israel, either in that period or any other.
Jerusalem, he says, grew from the ancient nucleus of the original City of
David northward and westward, to cover the entire area of the western hill,
which today includes the area of Mount Zion outside the walls and the
Armenian and Jewish Quarters within the walls.

He maintains, however, that Jerusalem was in fact even larger. In a lecture
he gave last week at the Judea and Samaria Studies Conference in Ariel,
sponsored by the College of Judea and Samaria and the Center for Research
and Development for the Regions of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley,
Barkai stated that according to an analysis of biblical sources and
interpretations of archaeological findings, Jerusalem of the late First
Temple period included quite extensive areas beyond the walls of the city.
He maintains that those areas included the Muslim quarter and large parts
of the Christian Quarter in the Old City of today, and ranged as far as the
cemetery of that period, located north of the Old City walls, between
Nablus Way and Saladin Street.

Despite the numerous excavations conducted in Jerusalem, which began in
1863, there are few archaeological finds from the First Temple period. In
the southern part of the eastern corridor of the City of David, outside the
city walls, Yigal Shilo's excavations uncovered the remains of buildings
and a suburban system of support walls from the eighth century B.C.E. The
constructed area of Jerusalem expanded in that period to include the
southwestern wall, and was even fortified by Hezekiah, King of Judah, by
means of the "Broad Wall," uncovered by Nahman Avigad in the 1970s within
the area now inside the Jewish Quarter.

Now, Barkai is claiming that while it is true that we have no testimony to
the existence of buildings from that area in the Muslim and Christian
Quarters, we do have potsherds that bear witness to human activity from
approximately the period of King Hezekiah up to the destruction of Jerusalem.

British officer Charles Warren was the first scholar to excavate north of
the Temple Mount, in the Christian Quarter. Everywhere he worked, says
Barkai, Warren noted that the color of the earth above the rock was darker,
making it possible to distinguish pottery fragments found in it from other
potsherds. Warren also wrote about "oil candles" - open clay candles
typical of the First Temple period - that he found in the Jewish and Muslim

Two years before Warren, Charles Clermont-Ganneau, who served as a
secretary of the French consulate in the city, arrived in Jerusalem. A year
after he completed his term, in 1973, Clermont-Ganneau returned to
Jerusalem for a year as the representative of the British Palestine
Exploration Fund (PES).

Remains of the bath

Clermont-Ganneau, an especially perceptive archaeologist and gifted
linguist, excavated at a number of sites along the Via Dolorosa. One of
them was the ruins of the Hamam al-Sultan, a public bathhouse from the late
Islamic period. Clermont-Ganneau dug a number of vertical holes in the
bathhouse and under them dug horizontal tunnels at different levels. He
uncovered a number of remains above the rock level and published his
findings. A new analysis of these remains, says Barkai, shows that some of
the pottery fragments Clermont-Ganneau found are "definitely" from the end
of the First Temple period. Among them are the handle of a clay vessel on
which three letters in ancient Hebrew writing were burned, a fragment of a
baking tray and the torso of a statuette of Ashtoret (the goddess Ashtera,
according to Barkai).

Why did Clermont-Ganneau's findings have to wait so many years for Barkai's
interpretation? Barkai says that for many years, research on Jerusalem
stagnated because of a dispute among scholars on the boundaries of the
city, a dispute that inflamed archaeological passions. In general, the
argument was between those that took the minimalist approach, who believed
that Jerusalem had existed only within the City of David, and those of the
maximalist approach. The highly regarded British archaeologist Kathleen
Kenyon, who found proof for her view in the field, represented the
minimalist approach. However, toward the end of her life, relates Barkai,
after she saw the Broad Wall, she was forced to agree that Jerusalem during
the First Temple period also included the Jewish Quarter.

The maximalists based their views on the Bible, but did not have any
archaeological findings in the field to back their position. One of the
most prominent maximalists was Father Vincent of the Dominican Monastery,
one of the most important scholars of Jerusalem in the early 20th century.

This dispute both exhausted and curbed research. Only after 1970 did the
excavations resume momentum in Jerusalem, and today, says Barkai,
"Scholarship has reached a certain level of maturity, and the view of the
maximalists that Jerusalem included the City of David, the Temple Mount and
the entire western hill within its boundaries surrounded by the wall, is
now accepted." However, even recently, scholars have not given enough
thought to the northern areas outside the walls. Now, says Barkai, it is
possible to return to earlier publications and reevaluate their findings,
"And that is what I did. What I am representing here is the
super-maximalist theory. However, there are still few findings to prove it."

The existence of Jewish settlement outside the walls "changes the picture
of Jewish settlement as we know it," says Barkai. "Along with the
neighborhoods beyond the walls, Jerusalem could have been as large as 900
dunams (225 acres) in the First Temple period, which is very large, with
about one-third outside the walls. The area of Lakhish, the second largest
city in Judea in that period, was 100 dunams. What we have here is a
phenomenon of Jerusalem as the capital of a medium-sized kingdom at that
time in the world, and the largest city in Eretz Israel."

Barkai disassociates himself from the current political implications that
may be projected from a larger Jerusalem. "I am in principle opposed to any
intermixture, certainly if it is conscious, of archaeological research and
contemporary political conclusions. If there are synagogues in the Golan
Heights, that does not mean that it cannot be Syrian territory. I study
ancient times and have nothing to do with modern-day conclusions."

Archaeologist Gideon Avni, the director of excavations and surveys of the
Antiquities Authority and former Jerusalem Region chief archaeologist, says
that the existing information (from the excavations at Herod's Gate and
nearby areas) definitely shows that "In the First Temple period, there was
some kind of presence there." However, "It is very difficult to state
whether it was a contiguous settlement, if the constructed city really
reached as far as this area, or whether we are talking about areas near
Jerusalem - agricultural areas, perhaps farms of some kind." In his view,
that is the accepted view. "We can say with certainty that there was a
presence there in the First Temple period. But to say that the city went as
far as these areas in the north - we do not yet have sufficient
archaeological proof for that."

Dr. Dan Bahat of the Land of Israel Studies Department at Bar Ilan
University, an expert on the archaeology and history of Jerusalem, takes an
even firmer position. He does not agree with Barkai's theory, and is
convinced, as perhaps the last of the minimalists, that Jerusalem ranged
only as far as the "Broad Wall" uncovered by Avigad. Beyond that, he says,
"We do not have enough proof."By Dalia Shehori