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Archaeology in Israel: Area G

"David occupied the stronghold and renamed it the City of David; David also fortified the surrounding area, from the Millo inward" (2 Samuel 5:9).

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.

Sources: The Jerusalem Mosaic. Copyright 1995 Hebrew University of Jerusalem -- All Rights Reserved.