"David occupied the stronghold
and renamed it the City
of David; David also fortified the surrounding area, from the Millo
inward" (2 Samuel
This area, which was excavated from
1978 to 1985 by an archaeological mission led by the
late Professor Yigal Shiloh, unearthed impressive remnants
of a large number of buildings, mainly from the First
Temple period. The most prominent feature is a stepped
structure made of stone which probably served as a support
for the fortress of David and the kings of Judah.
The "miloh" (from Hebrew: to fill) that David built may have been a group of stone walls between which
was an infill of earth and stones, and which formed
the terraces upon which the houses of the fortress-city
were built. Toward the end of the First
Temple period dwellings were built within and upon
the stone foundation; these were destroyed when the Babylonians captured and razed Jerusalem in 586 BCE.
One of these dwellings,
known as the "House of Ahiel", was
reconstructed after the completion of the
excavations. The site's eastern area yielded
a large and fascinating collection of "bullae"
(seal impressions made of clay) which were
apparently used by officials of the kingdom.
Some believe that it was to here, the Fortress
of Zion, that David brought the Ark
of the Covenant from Kiryat Ya'arim and
thus made Jerusalem a political and religious capital.