March 6, 2011
For those of you who will be in Israel on Tuesday, June 21st, 2011, please join us at the festive opening ceremony for the First Temple Period Archaeological Site recently excavated, conserved and made accessible to visitors in the Jerusalem Archaeological Park.
This fabulous project, near the southern wall of the Temple Mount enclosure, is made possible through the exemplary generosity of Daniel Mintz and Meredith Berkman.
The new site, the first addition to the Jerusalem Archaeological Park since the opening of the Davidson Center in 2001, contains remnants of a gate house, a royal structure, and fortification towers. Archaeologist Eilat Mazar who excavated the site believes the buildings are part of the city wall constructed during First Temple period (Tenth - Sixth centuries BCE) which would make this the first physical evidence of King Solomon's construction in Jerusalem. In addition, excavations at the site unearthed a clay fragment dating back to the 14th century BCE containing Akaddian words in Cuneiform symbols, indicating a royal presence in Jerusalem at least 3,400 years ago.
The opening ceremony will be at 10:00 a.m. on June 21st and will be followed by special tours led by IAA archaeologists of the new site, the Jerusalem Archaeological Park and special exhibits at the Davidson Center. If you expect to be in Jerusalem at this time, please let us know and we will keep you informed as the program is finalized.
The Jerusalem Archaeological Park and Davidson Center
Established by the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Jerusalem Archaeological Park is Israel's largest and most important antiquity site. This extensive area, which extends west, south, and east of Jerusalem's Old City Walls, is of particular importance for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It bears silent testimony to historical events and to an ongoing cycle of construction and destruction.This large park extends over one of the few parts of Ancient Jerusalem that has not been built up in the past few centuries. For that reason, the area has attracted archaeological excavations and research during the past one hundred and thirty years.