Current Excavations in Jerusalem’s Hinnom Valley – Part 2

After spotting the Mamluk aqueduct bridge remains on Sunday (09 May) I returned to the area the next day to take photographs and, walking down the Hinnom Valley from the Jaffa Gate area, saw yet another, much larger excavation area. This one I have not heard or read anything about, but as you can see it covers a significant area and is quite deep. The location on this one is north of the “Artists’ Lane”, between there and Mamilla Street and pretty much in the center of the valley.

Hinnom Valley excavation, looking SE (10 May 2010)

In the above photo you can see the back of the shops/galleries of the “Artists’ Lane”. The entire area was cordoned off with solid metal fencing, so I walked around to the west side of the site where an IAA-signposted drive-through gate was standing open. That’s all the invitation I needed. Inside, standing at the edge of the great pit, I was able to fire off one more shot (below) before anguished cries from the depths — out of all proportion to my infraction, I thought — persuaded me to stop. Security, the national religion. (Oh, well… Just shrug and play “Stupid Tourist”. Most of the time it works!) Look closely and you’ll see there are at least six people all shouting at me to get the hell out of there…

Hinnom Valley excavation, looking NE (10 May 2010)

Anyway, in this shot you can see that there were fairly modern buildings, probably from the Ottoman-Turkish period, that had been completely buried (left), and that the present digging is going on at a much lower level.

Before leaving the area, I stopped in one of the little galleries near the excavation and the lady gave me a bit of information. She told me the digging had been going on for about three months. She mentioned that a grain mill had been identified, but did not know from what period. The digging at this spot started, she said, as part of a project to develop a park dedicated to the late Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek. The area shown was to have been an amphitheater, but everything is on hold now, due both to local opposition to the plan and the fact that one of the principals in the project is embroiled in Jerusalem’s still-unfolding  “Holyland” corruption scandal! And so it goes…

Anyway, now that I’ve “broken” the story, maybe the IAA will issue a nice press release!

This entry was posted in Archaeology, Hinnom Valley, Jerusalem Antiquities and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Current Excavations in Jerusalem’s Hinnom Valley – Part 2

  1. Jim Joyner says:

    Tom, are you able to provide GPS coordinates of this sites?

    • Tom Powers says:

      Hmm… Good question. Actually, yes, courtesy of Google Maps — and within the limits of that approach and my map-clicking skills…

      The aqueduct bridge remains (previous post):
      31.773437 / 35.226084

      The large excavation (this post):
      31.775024 / 35.226470

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