Notable Historic Documents: Introducing Ancient Jerusalem

The city of David utilizes discoveries made in this excavation site as a means of reinforcing religious beliefs. In the beginning the city was sacked by both the Romans and Babylonians. The interviewer emphasizes the excavation site as a Canaanite fortress. Archaeology is used as a political tool, the video emphasizes soldiers as a primary audience for tourism into the excavation sites. One thing glaringly missing from the City of David is any proof of David’s residency. Further controversy is created from the City of David’s proximity to Silwah, a predominately Arab neighbourhood. Protests have frequently begun to turn violent as a result of the tensions between the Jewish minority and the Palestinian majority. The mayor of Jerusalem has also proposed a ‘King’s Garden’, a religious-themed amusement park to be built on the City of David. Local Arab populace see these proposals as a passive-aggressive form of encroachment.


Not surprisingly, a number of archaeologists today express their doubts that the entire City of David ever was included in the original Jerusalem.

But the conspicuous location of the Gihon Spring seems a hard fact to sidestep. Moreover, the discovery of Warren’s Shaft by Charles Warren in 1867 and the fortifications around the nearby Spring House reveal that the locals clearly made use of the spring in David’s day. It seems far more likely that this small area of land was the same place David conquered.

The map above shows the location of the Gihon Spring to the City of David. The city expanded to the north during David’s time when he purchased the hill that would become the Temple Mount under Solomon’s rule.


This area the Bible identifies as Mount Moriah, the place where Abraham bound his son Isaac in order to offer him to the Lord (Genesis 22:2; 2 Chronicles 3:1). During the time of Hezekiah, the city enlarged again to encompass the Western Hill in order to house and protect fleeing refugees from the northern tribes after their kingdom fell to Assyria. The walls of Jerusalem have expanded and contracted through the centuries like the breathing of a living being. Arguably the most important city in history had its infancy in an area that today hardly reflects its grandeur.

1 Comment on “Notable Historic Documents: Introducing Ancient Jerusalem

  1. There was a great comment from Teresa Lai about the subjectivity of appropriating history as a way to justify the respective positions. To take this further, it remains to be seen where you wish to take this research. Are you using the “60 Minutes” documentary as a platform to trace exactly which historical “City of David” the resettlement agency are using? The 1581 map is a very good start, but it points to a 3-way share of the city, not a single authority over it. This in itself is a remarkable sensibility. As a suggestion, it would be fascinating to research and narrate from 3 to 5 sets of maps from each side of the conflict, so you can give a balanced account before concluding with your own critical opinions about this city. It is interesting to note that this bias was highly present in the documentary’s interviewer’s line of questioning. Normally, the protagonist of a new vision for a city aims to undo the last regime’s authority over it, but this debate over Jerusalem seems to be recalling different sets of histories.

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