In the National Park of the Jerusalem Old City Walls recent finds were discovered from the time of the destruction of the First Temple. On the Eastern slope of the City of David archeological digs uncovered residential housing dating back 2,500 years buried under fallen stones. In these ruins there were pieces of charred wood evidence of the fires of destruction, grape seeds, pottery, fish scales and bones, and rare and unique crafts.
There artifacts are evidence of the destruction and of life before it showing the wealth and character of Jerusalem’s inhabitants when it was the capital of the Judean Kingdom.
The wealth in the capital was evident in the many articles of beauty found in the digs. Of the outstanding finds were dozens of pottery containers used for storage of produce and liquids some of which had a ‘Rosetta’ mark of a six petaled rose. “These markings were common to the era demarking the end of the First Temple and were used by the royal managing systems of the Judean Kingdom. The markings were made to facilitate keeping track of produce gathering, storage and their marketing. The Rosetta marking replaced the markings that said ‘Lamelech’, ‘to the king’ found on jugs a generation or two before which served previous managing systems according to Ortal Calef and Dr. Joe Uziel who are in charge of the archeological dig from the Antiquities Authority.
Calef and Uziel both point out that these findings show without a doubt that life in Jerusalem expanded beyond the walls of ancient Jerusalem already during the time of the First Temple. The walls behind these ruins were the walls of the old city of Jerusalem at the time forming the original eastern wall of the city that these houses were built outside of. During the early part of what is called the ‘iron age’ from 1200 BCE to 539 BCE Jerusalem was in constant state of expansion which can be seen in the construction of walls then more housing outside those walls.
“In previous digs in the Jewish quarter area findings clearly show the expansion of Jerusalem. A population growth brought about the annexation of lands west of the city to be incorporated into the city at the end of 800 BCE. In our present dig we can propose that after the city expanded westward, the expansion also went eastward beyond city walls,” the dig administrators explain.