Ancient Canaanite Fortification Unearthed in Jerusalem

September 5, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Thousands of years ago, centuries before the Biblical time of King David and the Land of Israel, the ancient Canaanites heavily fortified their towns with massive stone walls for protection against marauding desert invaders. The Canaanites built temples and worshiped Baal, a vigorous young god of fertility.

A large portion of one of these ancient Canaanite stone fortifications was recently unearthed in Jerusalem and is one of the oldest and largest walls ever found in the Holy Land. To touch one of these ancient stones is like opening a time portal to the past.

The 3,700-year-old, 26-foot-high and very thick wall extends at least 80 feet and dates to the Middle Bronze period. Israeli archaeologists believe it was built around the 17th century B.C. to protect a valuable desert water source; an ancient spring that is still flowing to this day. The cut boulders forming the wall each weigh 4 to 5 tons, which have archaeologists perplexed how an ancient civilization without the benefit of electricity or mechanical equipment, could have achieved such a massive feat of engineering.

The discovery was made by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Giv ‘ati car park, in the City of David within the Walls Around Jerusalem National Park. The City of David excavation site has produced some amazing finds, since the dig began two years ago, including a cache of 1,300-year-old Chanukah coins and the remains of a “magnificent” two-story Roman mansion.

The excavation’s director, Ronny Reich and archaeologist Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority released a joint press release about their important find saying, “We are dealing with a gigantic fortification, from the standpoint of the structure’s dimensions, the thickness of its walls and the size of the stones that were incorporated in its construction.”

The two archaeologists lauded the discovery as a first of its kind in Jerusalem. “This is the most massive wall that has ever been uncovered in the City of David. It marks the first time that such massive construction that predates the Herodian period has been discovered in Jerusalem,” said Reich and Shukron.

Despite the ancient historical treasures waiting to be unearthed from the City of David site, the excavation is a source of contention in this land of turmoil, as Palestinian residents question the motives of the Israeli archaeologists and argue that the digging is weakening the foundations of their homes.

The Antiquities Authority and the City of David Foundation defend their excavations as important to “continuing King David’s legacy and strengthening Israel’s current and historic connection to Jerusalem.”

Live everything else in this tiny tumultuous region; one person’s accomplishment leads to another’s misfortune.


Photo Source: Israel Antiquities Authority


2 Responses to “Ancient Canaanite Fortification Unearthed in Jerusalem”

  1. Mitzimi on September 6th, 2009 11:08 am

    The continuing discoveries at the City of David excavations prove every single day that the Jewish connection to the Holy City goes back 3000 years, and just keep on confirming the Biblical accounts of Jerusalem’s history.

    I find it rather amusing that so many reports of this discovery highlight that the boulders are so huge (5 tons), since that is about the size of the smallest (!) stones in the Western Wall, whose stone range in weight up to 570 tons – (see the Jerusalem Temple), all quarried by hand and transported without much more equipment than what the builders of this wall must have had. Sure, this wall is much older, and that’s very cool, but the stones are all that big in comparison …. (not that I’d want to move one myself, mind you!)

  2. Jim on September 15th, 2009 7:52 pm

    Well, the tribal name Zabulanu is mentioned in the Egyptian Execration texts of 1850 BCE, in relation to the shuttu and Anaq people of Canaan (Anakim). This could very well be evidence of a the tribe of Zebulun in Canaan 800 years before the kingdom of Israel.

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