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Givati Parking Lot Dig

The Givati Parking Lot dig is an archaeological excavation located in the Tyropoeon Valley. It is adjacent to the City of David, the most ancient part of the Canaanite and Israelite city of Jerusalem.

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Overview

The Givati Parking Lot marks the largest active archaeological excavation in Jerusalem today and is continuously uncovering different layers of the city's life from the Middle Ages to ancient times.

Giv‘ati Parking Lot is located on the northwestern side of the City of David spur, alongthe eastern fringes of the Tyropoeon Valley, which delimits the spur from the west.

The main finds include the basement floor of a large residential building from the end of the Second Temple period that may have been part of the royal property of Queen Helene, a queen who converted to Judaism and lived in the city during that time period. In addition, a massive residential building from the Roman period (measuring about 2 dunams or half an acre) yielded findings such as a gold earring inlaid with pearls and precious stones and a Roman boxer figurine, used as a weight.

Brief History

circa 350-500 CE

Byzantine Era
During the erly Byzantine era a street oriented north–south was paved with various sizes of stone slabs, smooth from long use. Curbstones delineated the easternsidewalk of the street, paved with smaller stones.

circa 670-750 CE

Umayyad Period
During the Umayyad period, the entire area was turned into anindustrial zone. The main south–north Byzantine street running along the Tyropoeon Valley most probably went out of use or was significantly narrowed. Some of the pavement slabs were damaged or entirely removed. A long, narrow wall built of well-dressed stones, clearly in secondary use, was revealed directly above the street.

Artefacts

circa 500 BCE

Bes-vessel Shard
The shard, dated to the Persian period was discovered in archaeological excavations in the Givati Parking Lot excavations in a large refuse pit that contained numerous other pottery fragments that dated to the Persian period. These jars are called “Bes-Vessels,” and they were very common during the Persian period. In Egyptian mythology, Bes is the protector deity of households, especially mothers, women in childbirth, and children. Such vessels and amulets were also found in Persia itself, in Shushan, Persepolis and other cities, reaching there by Egyptian craftsmen who operated there as part of the international trade economy of the period.

circa 500 BCE

Sa'aryahu Seal
This First Temple period seal found in the Givati Parking Lot excavations belonged to a man named Sa‘aryahu (or Sa‘adyahu) ben Shabenyahu. Seal inscriptions were written in reverse; this image has been mirrored to facilitate the reading of the seal.

circa 500 BCE

Elihana Seal
The Seal of Elihana (or Alyana), is said to date back to the period of the First Temple. This particular seal shows that “the owner of the seal was exceptional compared to other women” of the time period. “She had legal status which allowed her to conduct business and possess property.”

circa 610 CE

Heraclian Coins
In 2008 archaeologists uncovered a hoard of 264 gold coins minted at the beginning of the reign of Byzantine emperor Heraclius, between the years 610-613 CE, thus just before the Persian conquest of Jerusalem.

circa 790 CE

Kareem Amulet
The amulet was uncovered in the flooring of an Abbasid-period structure (circa 9th-10th centuries CE), alongside several examples of pottery sherds and an almost entirely intact oil lamp, upon which black soot attests to its everyday use. The size of the object, its shape, and the text on it indicate that it was apparently used as an amulet for blessing and protection.

circa 800 CE

Abbasid Era Oil Lamp
Discovered in 2018 and almost entirely intact, it is an Abbasid era Oil lamp, which was found along with other pottery shards.

Gallery

See Also

External Resources

References

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