Digging To Resume in Summer 2014

     Our season dates for 2014 are June 14 through July 11th. We would prefer "team members" (aka volunteers) to stay at least two weeks. Those interested should contact Mareike Grosser, Shimon's Gibson's assistant in Jerusalem at digmountzion@gmail.com. She can provide all the details for those who are not part of the UNC Charlotte Education Abroad program. The UNC Charlotte group will be there the first two weeks of the dig but Dr. Tabor will stay on the whole time as will others. Most participants are staying at the Ritz near the Albright and Mareike has information on our arranged rates. Dig costs are reasonable, you arrange your own room and board and you must have your own insurance.

Contact: digmountzion@gmail.com 



For a general overview of the Mt Zion Project see the following links:


Our Mt Zion excavation site is just outside the present Old City wall, along the road between the Zion Gate and the Dung Gate, but in Romantimes it was well inside the walls of the ancient city of Jerusalem.Nearby are many important places in the history of Jerusalem, namelythe Praetorium where Jesus was tried before Pontius Pilate, and theHouse of Caiaphas and the other priestly families in the Upper City ofJerusalem in the first century C.E. In the Byzantine period, the areawas situated at the southern end of the Cardo Maximus, which was agrand columned street and in its vicinity Justinian (mid sixth century)built a very large church (the Nea). The summit of Mount Zion was afocus for the building of houses in the Early Islamic Period. TheCrusaders and the Ayyubids built their fortifications across the crestof the hill, and in the early 13th century, the local Sultan destroyedthe gate-tower, which was located in the area of our excavation.


A unique ten-line inscription on the side of a stone cup commonly used for ritual purity during the first century CE was uncovered during the 2009 season of excavations. Inscriptions of this kind are extremely rare and only a handful has been found in scientific excavations made within the city. This new inscription is presently being deciphered by epigraphic experts in an effort to determine the meaning of the text, which is clear but cryptic. The dig also produced a sequence of building remains dating from the history of Jerusalem, from the First and Second Temple periods through to Byzantine and Early Islamic periods.

A house complex from the Second Temple period with an mikve (purification pool) with a remarkably well preserved vaulted ceiling was uncovered during this season. Inside this house were three bread ovens with a level of burning dating from the year 70 CE when Titus and the Roman troops stormed the city. We think that this area of the Upper City of Jerusalem served as the priestly quarter of Jerusalem during Second Temple times. In support of this were interesting finds including an ornate window screen made of stone. Ten murex shells were also found and these were used for producing the argaman dye which was used for the coloring of the priestly vestments at that time.

In addition, a large arched building with a mosaic floor (preserved to a height of 3 metres) from the Byzantine period was also uncovered; perhaps it is part of a building complex or street associated with the nearby Church of St Mary (the Nea).

Many coins, pottery, and stone artifacts were among the finds. Please visit our website again soon for more images and reports of last month's dig.



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