In the early 1970s, an archaeological mission
headed by Professor Nahman Avigad unearthed part of the city wall
from the period of King Hezekiah (end of the 8th century BCE).
Evidently the city's population had
increased even before Hezekiah ascended the throne, and Jerusalem expanded to the slopes of Mount Zion. When the Assyrian army
approached, the king decided to fortify the city and wall in the
newly built areas. The archaeological dig found that houses which had
stood on the planned route of the wall were demolished and their
stones used to reinforce the wall.
According to Isaiah (22:9-10): "And you took
note of the many breaches in the City
of David... and you counted the houses of Jerusalem and pulled
houses down to fortify the wall." The spare description conveys
extraordinarily well the atmosphere of urgency and drama that
accompanied the building of the wall. It was a vast project which,
together with the hewing of the water.