In a recent excavation within the historic City of David National Park in Jerusalem, enigmatic rock-cut production facilities dating back approximately 2,800 years to the First Temple period have been brought to light. Collaborative efforts between the Israeli Antiquities Authority and Tel Aviv University have unveiled a fascinating glimpse into this ancient era. The profound significance of these findings lies not only in their age but also in the potential roles these structures played in the societal and economic framework of the time.
The researchers have suggested that the canal systems discovered could have been utilized for various purposes, including the soaking of certain products. Moreover, the strategic placement of these facilities within the vicinity of the king's palace and the revered Temple Mount underscores their probable connection to the epicenter of power and worship during that period. It is postulated that the goods produced in these facilities might have held a position of importance within the economy of the palace or the temple.
Remarkably, two of these rock-cut facilities have been revealed so far in the Givati parking lot, situated approximately 10 meters apart. There exists the tantalizing possibility that these structures were components of a larger complex, operating in tandem to fulfill their designated functions. This intriguing revelation promises to captivate not only the academic community but also the public at large, as the excavation is set to be showcased during the forthcoming "24th City of David Research" conference.
תעלומה: למה שימשו מתקני תעלות מסתוריים מימי המלכים יהואש ואמציה שנחשפו בגן לאומי עיר דוד?— רשות העתיקות - Israel Antiquities Authority (@AntiquitiesIL) August 30, 2023
מתקני ייצור ייחודיים וגדולי מימדים חצובים בסלע, שהיו בשימוש בתקופת בית המקדש הראשון במאה ה-9 לפני הספירה, נחשפו בחפירות 'חניון גבעתי'.
לפוסט המלא: https://t.co/7FwWlNuJDo pic.twitter.com/JvaoTm5HcG
The first of these facilities, located at the northeastern extremity of the Givati parking lot, boasts a meticulously designed arrangement of at least nine channels, all displaying expert craftsmanship. Adjacent to this facility, a rock cliff serves as a backdrop, featuring seven distinct gutters. These channels directed liquids from the elevated activity area on the rock block towards the canal system, showcasing an innovative hydraulic design for that era.
Dr. Yeftah Shalev, a distinguished researcher at the Antiquities Authority, shared insights into the discovery process."we had never seen a similar facility in Israel, we did not know how to interpret it. Its date was also unclear. We brought some experts to the area to check if there are any remains in the ground or rock that are not visible to the eye, and who can help us understand what flowed or stood in the canals. We asked to check if there were any organic remains or traces of blood, and for that we even used the police's forensics unit and its contacts with investigators around the world, but so far - to no avail."
An employee of the Israel Antiquities Authority works at a channel installation discovered in the City of David National Park, Jerusalem, 30 August 2023, dating to the time of Kings Jehoash and Amaziah.— EPA Images (@EPA_Images) August 30, 2023
📸 EPA / Atef Safadi#epaimages pic.twitter.com/r8CSvd4Cxt
The esteemed Prof. Yuval Gadot from Tel Aviv University contextualized these findings within the historical narrative of the time. "The expanded boundaries of ancient Jerusalem encompassed the City of David branch and the Temple Mount, both central to the city's identity. The proximity of the canal facilities to these pivotal areas suggests a direct link between the products produced and the sacred economy of the temple or the opulent palace. In this historical period, ritual practices often involved offerings of agricultural produce, with the sanctity of the location enhancing the significance of such products."