House of Ahiel

By the Editors of the Madain Project

House of Ahiel is a ruined residential home built in the typical Israelite style of the time and consisting of four rooms was discovered in Area G of the City of David and is dated to the end of the First Temple period. Clay shards with the name “Ahiel” were found inside the house, leading to its identification as Ahiel’s home.


Remains of the house belonging to a man named Ahiel, as seen from the east. This four-room house was built into and over the Millo around 550 BC in the days of young Josiah and Jeremiah. The staircase to the left (seen in photos below) would have provided access to the home’s flat roof. The lower floor is where animals would have been kept (illustration).


circa 550 BCE

This is a typical Israelite four-room house. The outside stairway presumably led to the flat roof. The outside of Ahiel’s house (east) was poorly preserved, but the western side on the hill was well preserved. Inside the house were found cosmetics and housewares all from the ruins of 586 BCE. There are side rooms, separated by monolithic pillars and piers, and adjoining service rooms to the north. These service rooms provide good examples of spaces dedicated to food preparation and food storage, as well as the house's toilet facilities.

Archaelogical Context

circa 550 BCE

'Area G'
An aerial view of the Area G also known as the Royal Quarter, in the City of David, with the House of Ahiel in the middle (structure with two stone pillars). The stepped stone structure is assumed by the archaeologists and historians to be the biblical Millo, originally built by Jebusites it was expanded by Solomon and repaired by Hezekiah. The structure probably supported a royal building, such as the king’s palace. Archaeologists now believe that they have uncovered part of that palace.

circa 550 BCE

Panoramic view of the Area G, also assumed to be the biblical Millo mentioned in 2 Samuel 5:9; 1 Chronicles 11:8; and later in 1 Kings 9:15 as being part of the City of David, looking towards south.

Notable artefacts

circa 550 BCE

The Ostracon (A) is one of the two known pieces of pottery found during the excavations bearing Hebrew inscriptions, reading the inscription (translation may not be accurate) from right to left
belongs to
Ahi'el (Acht)
Ahi'el (Acht)
Inside (TS).

circa 550 BCE

Weighing Stones
As archaeologists discovered when they found a limestone slab, mostly likely an ancient weighing stone, inscribed with the owner’s name. Many distinctive pieces of pottery and even a toilet were found in this house.

circa 550 BCE

This toilet seat sat in the corner of the small room in the House of Ahiel. This would have provided the fourroom home with a bathroom. This stone is the toilet seat that sat over a cesspit about 6.5 feet deep. Four toilets have been found in the City of David – two in Shiloh’s excavations and two earlier. One found by the Parker Expedition was saluted as the throne of Solomon. Father Vincent said, “I fear its actual destination was at once more private and naturally necessary….” Another was found by Kenyon only a few yards from Area G.

Reconstructions and Illustrations

circa 550 BCE

Computer Generated 3D Reconstruction
3D reconstruction of the Ahiel's House. It is one of the best preserved of the Iron Age structures in Area G is Ahiel’s House. It is a typical Iron Age, four-room, four-pillar house (measuring about 8 x8m) belonging to Ahi’el.

circa 550 BCE

Physical Model at the Site
A model reconstruction of the structure known as the Ahiel's House near the large stepped Jebusite Wall. In the middle terrace: A four-room house was built in two levels, two ostraca (pieces of pottery broken off from a vase or earthenware) were found with the name “Ahiel” inscribed on them. This structure was called “House of Ahiel.” Also found in this four-room structure were many other small items and pottery vessels.

See Also


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