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The Archaeology of Jerusalem

The Archaeology of Jerusalem: From the Origins to the Ottomans

Katharina Galor
Hanswulf Bloedhorn
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    The Archaeology of Jerusalem
    Book Description:

    In this sweeping and lavishly illustrated history, Katharina Galor and Hanswulf Bloedhorn survey nearly four thousand years of human settlement and building activity in Jerusalem, from prehistoric times through the Ottoman period. The study is structured chronologically, exploring the city's material culture, including fortifications and water systems as well as key sacred, civic, and domestic architecture. Distinctive finds such as paintings, mosaics, pottery, and coins highlight each period. Their book provides a unique perspective on the emergence and development of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and the relationship among the three religions and their cultures into the modern period.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-19899-7
    Subjects: History, Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  4. 1 Introduction: History of the Research
    (pp. 1-9)

    Turning to the past to enhance one’s perspective of the present is not a modern invention. From early on, Jerusalem has beckoned numerous historians, explorers, and adventurers. Whether to illuminate one’s ancestral heritage or to revisit sites that shaped world religions, the quest to uncover Jerusalem’s mysterious legacy has been a source of inspiration for many (fig. 1.1).¹

    Flavius Josephus (ca. 37–95 c.e.) may be considered a pioneer in the exploration of Jerusalem’s history, described in the course of his work to record the history of his people for the contemporary Roman reader.² Byzantine and medieval pilgrims attempted to...

  5. 2 Natural and Built City Limits
    (pp. 10-17)

    Whereas the city’s natural topography has remained constant in the period under consideration, the evolving history of the region has repeatedly modified the urban limits and the definition of space within. Factors that have determined the shift in boundaries include the inhabitants’ relations with surrounding cultures that were either cordial or hostile at various times; their religious and ethnic affiliations; and the city’s socioeconomic, ecological, and demographic conditions.¹

    Palestine lies on a narrow stretch of the Fertile Crescent, at the southern end of the Levantine coast. Located in the center of the country, the Judaean hills mark the dividing line...

  6. 3 The Chalcolithic Period and the Bronze Age
    (pp. 18-27)

    Jerusalem first appears in the written sources as a Canaanite city at the beginning of the second millennium b.c.e. The land of Canaan consisted of groups of seminomadic tribal confederations and several cities, each ruled by its own king. The two great empires of Egypt and Babylonia competed for dominance over Canaan and the entire region.

    Egyptian execration texts referring to the city as3wsh3mm(rushalimum) appear on nineteenth-century b.c.e. ceramic bowls and eighteenth-century b.c.e. clay figurines of bound captives.¹ It was believed that the power of the enemy whose name was inscribed on the bowls and figurines could be...

  7. 4 The Iron Age
    (pp. 28-54)

    According to 2 Samuel 5:7, in the seventh year of his reign (ca. 1000 b.c.e.), David entered Jerusalem, conquering the fortress called Zion and the surrounding area, which he called the “City of David” (2 Sam 5:6–9).¹ In a later account (1 Chron 11:4–7), David appointed Joab son of Zeruiah the chief officer of his army because he was the first to attack the local population. David united the territory of Israel and made Jerusalem the political and religious capital of his kingdom (fig. 4.1).

    The Ark of the Covenant, symbol of the unity of the tribes of...

  8. 5 The Babylonian and Persian Periods
    (pp. 55-62)

    The small Kingdom of Judah vacillated between policies of submission to and revolt against Babylonian domination. In 597 b.c.e., King Jehoiachin, his family, and entourage—the elite of Judah—as well as many of the Temple vessels and royal treasures, were taken to Babylon (2 Kgs 24:12–16). Jehoiachin’s uncle, Mattaniah, renamed Zedekiah, was appointed king of Judah by the Babylonians and reigned in Jerusalem for eleven years in the service of the king of Babylonia (2 Kgs 24:17–18).¹ In 588 b.c.e., however, he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar with a coalition of several states, including Egypt, against the advice of...

  9. 6 The Hellenistic Period
    (pp. 63-112)

    In 332 b.c.e., Alexander the Great conquered Judaea (the Greek name for Yehud, or Judah) from the Persians and made it part of his empire, which extended from Greece to India. His conquest led to the colonization of the Near East by Greeks and the spread of Greek language, architecture, culture, and lifestyle throughout the region.¹ Local and Greek customs merged, creating a fusion called Hellenism, albeit with a predominance of Greek elements.² With Alexander’s death in 323 b.c.e., his vast empire split into several kingdoms.³ Although at first contested, Judaea eventually came under the rule of the Ptolemaic dynasty...

  10. 7 The Roman Period
    (pp. 113-126)

    According to Josephus’s description of Jerusalem in the post-destruction era (WarVII, 1–4), most of the city lay in ruins and was covered by rubble. After the fighting ended, the province was reorganized, land was redistributed and the Tenth Roman Legion Fretensis, responsible for the city’s destruction, was now asked to guard it (fig. 7.1). Since neither Josephus nor any other contemporary sources refer to an expulsion, we may assume that the majority of the surviving original population remained in Judah.

    During his first voyage to the East between 129 and 131 c.e., the emperor Hadrian spent time in...

  11. Plates
    (pp. None)
  12. 8 The Byzantine Period
    (pp. 127-150)

    In 313, the Edict of Milan pronounced Christianity one of the legal religions of the Roman Empire. Constantine (306–337 c.e.), ruler of the western part of the empire, defeated his last opponent, Licinius, ruler of the eastern empire, in 324 and became emperor of the entire Roman Empire. In 330, Constantine declared the strategic eastern city of Byzantium as his capital, changing its name to Constantinople. The term “Byzantine” would eventually refer to the eastern Roman Empire and the period of its influence.

    Beginning in the fourth century, Jerusalem was transformed from an insignificant Roman town to a major...

  13. 9 The Early Islamic Period
    (pp. 151-173)

    Caliph Umar I conquered Jerusalem (al-Quds, in Arabic) around a.h. 16–17/637–638 c.e. without causing havoc or imposing destruction.¹ Within a few years he succeeded in defeating the two exhausted superpowers, Persia and the Byzantine Empire.² Umar I intentionally avoided incurring damage on Jerusalem because of its special role for adherents of the new religion of Islam. The site of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem was also Muhammad’s destination during his legendary night journey from Mecca on his steed al-Burak, and it is the site from which the Prophet ascended the seven heavens into the presence of the Almighty....

  14. 10 The Crusader and Ayyubid Periods
    (pp. 174-208)

    The end of the eleventh century in Europe ushered in the epic movement of the European Crusades for the recovery of the Tomb of Christ from the “infidels.” The First Crusade, led by Godfrey of Bouillon, reached the walls of Jerusalem after a march of several years across southeastern Europe, Asia Minor, and Syria. On Shaban 22, a.h. 492/July 15, 1099 c.e., the Crusaders stormed the city, and in the ensuing carnage the Muslim population was slaughtered and Jews were burnt in their synagogues. The conquering knights divided the city’s houses and palaces among themselves. Godfrey assumed the title “Protector...

  15. 11 The Mamluk Period
    (pp. 209-231)

    The Ayyubids, rulers of Egypt and Syria since a.h. 567/1171 c.e., were succeeded by the Mamluks (a name from Arabic meaning “slaves”) in a.h. 648/1250 c.e.¹ The Mamluks ruled for over two and a half centuries, until the Ottoman conquest in a.h. 923/1517 c.e. The Bahri Mamluks, originally Qipchaqs from the Mongols’ Golden Horde on the Volga, were based on the island of Rhoda in Cairo; the Burji Mamluks were Circassians by origin and were stationed in the Citadel of Cairo.

    The Mamluks’ defeat of the Mongol army in a.h. 658/1260 c.e. at ‘Ain Jalut in the Jezreel Valley in...

  16. 12 The Ottoman Period
    (pp. 232-250)

    In a.h. 857/1453 c.e., the Ottoman ruler Mehmed the Conqueror took over Constantinople and the last territories of Byzantium. Additional regions to the south and east, including the Levant and Egypt, were subsequently conquered by his successors. To the Ottomans, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Arabia were provinces of a much larger empire whose center of gravity lay in Anatolia and the Balkans. These provinces were a source of revenue, manpower, and raw materials, yet in all other respects played a secondary role. They were governed by appointees from Istanbul, where the metropolitan court and administration spoke Turkish and adopted Persian...

  17. Epilogue
    (pp. 251-252)

    The archaeological remains described in this volume, spanning some five thousand years of civilization, represent but a small fraction of Jerusalem’s glorious past. This partial yet significant window into the city’s rich history clearly reflects the spotty nature of the field of archaeology. No one discipline—history, archaeology, epigraphy, numismatics, art history, and more—presumes to capture the full scope of Jerusalem’s heritage.

    Beyond the inherent limitations of archaeology and other fields, we have chosen to provide our readers with a representative selection of the city’s material remains as well as relevant scholarly literature for those wishing to pursue further...

  18. Appendix I: Jerusalem Chronology
    (pp. 253-254)
  19. Appendix II: Major Excavations in Jerusalem
    (pp. 255-258)
  20. Notes
    (pp. 259-288)
  21. Bibliography
    (pp. 289-326)
  22. Index
    (pp. 327-332)