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The Jerusalem Wall That Shouldn’t Be There, Hershel Shanks, BAR 13:03, May-Jun 1987.

Old City of JerusalemThree major excavations fail to explain controversial remains

An east-west city wall built by Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century cuts a jagged, horizontal line across the bottom of this photo; from our vantage point in the north, we look south beyond this wall to the Old City, the golden-domed Mosque of Omar and the undulating Judean Hills on the horizon.

Beneath Suleiman’s east-west wall, at Damascus Gate, archaeologists have discovered a beautifully dressed Herodian wall—a contender for the city’s “Third Wall,” described by the first-century A.D. historian Flavius Josephus.

But about 500 yards north of Suleiman’s wall, just below the structures at the bottom of this photo, archaeologists have excavated another wall, called the Sukenik-Mayer wall, after its earliest excavators. Some scholars say that this 800-yard-long line of masonry is Josephus’s Third Wall, built by Agrippa I to enclose a first-century A.D. Jerusalem suburb. But other scholars disagree. The late Kathleen Kenyon argued that the Roman general Titus built the Sukenik-Mayer wall in the first century A.D. to trap the city’s Jewish defenders. E. W. Hamrick counters that the wall was built by the Jewish defenders just before Titus’s victory in 70 A.D. Others have proposed that Bar Kokhba’s warriors built the Sukenik-Mayer wall in 132–135 A.D. to thwart the Roman army in the second great Jewish revolt against Rome.

There is a massive wall in Jerusalem that shouldn’t be there. The problem is, it is. Traces of more then 2,500 feet of it have been uncovered. Yet it defies any really satisfactory explanation.
The difficulty we have in explaining this wall is all the more puzzling because we know so much about it from a number of excavations. We also know a great deal about the period when the wall was built—the first century A.D., shortly before the Romans suppressed the First Jewish Revolt and destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. But we still can’t explain its purpose.

Evidence accumulated since 1838 has knocked some of the extreme contentions out of the ring, but this evidence almost always seems to be negative, leaving us, in the end, with nothing very convincing.

In the recently published final report of Dame Kathleen Kenyon’s 1965 excavation at this wall,a A. D. Tushingham of the Royal Ontario Museum opines in a preface, “We are confident that the logic of [the argument presented in this report] will finally put to rest the dispute which has, for so long, eddied about this line of great stones” (p. xxv). Later, however, Tushingham admits, it “probably will not” (p. 8). His later prediction is undoubtedly correct.

The contention-producing wall lies 1,500 feet north of the Old City. It runs in an east-west direction, parallel to the northern wall of the Old City. We shall refer to it as the Sukenik-Mayer wall, after the archaeologists who conducted the first significant excavation of it.b

The person who put the Sukenik-Mayer wall on the map, so to speak, was the eminent American Orientalist and Biblical geographer Edward Robinson. With his friend Eli Smith, Robinson spent several months in 1838 traveling through the Holy Land and identified literally hundreds of sites mentioned in the Bible. Robinson was the first person in modern times to crawl through King Hezekiah’s Tunnel,c to note the spring of an arch in the Western Wall of the Temple Mount known to this day as Robinson’s Archd—and he became the first to describe in some detail this mysterious line of masonry 1,500 feet north of the Old City. Earlier explorers had noticed the wall, but it was Robinson who described it in some detail, and even more important, identified it as Josephus’s Third Wall.

Josephus was a first-century Jewish historian who before he became a historian, had led the Jewish forces in Galilee during the First Jewish Revolt against Rome (66–70 A.D.). Josephus surrendered to the Romans, eventually ending up in Rome, where, under imperial sponsorship, he wrote his classic account of the Jewish Revolt, entitled The Jewish War. It is a vivid, detailed, gripping report by someone not without bias, but with intimate, often eyewitness, knowledge of events, reporting developments day by day and sometimes even hour by hour.

Jerusalem is defended by natural barriers on three sides, east, west and south, where deep, steep valleys (which were deeper and steeper in antiquity than they are today) make any attack from these directions difficult and hazardous. From the north, however, the approach is relatively level. Despite its natural defenses, Jerusalem was a walled city almost from the beginning. The earliest city wall dates to about 1800 B.C. At the time of the Roman attack that ended the First Jewish Revolt, Jerusalem was protected on the north by three successive walls. Josephus designates the innermost wall, which surrounded the entire city, as the First Wall. The outermost northern wall he calls the Third Wall.

According to Josephus, the Third Wall was built by Herod the Great’s grandson, Herod Agrippa I, who was king of Judea from 41 to 44 A.D., to protect a northern suburb of the city. Agrippa, for some reason (Josephus gives three different reasons), never completed the Third Wall. This was left to the Jewish insurgents more than 20 years later after an early Roman attack succeeded in burning the northern suburb incompletely enclosed by the Third Wall.

Much of the early interest in—and acrimonious debate about—the wall Edward Robinson identified as Josephus’s Third Wall stemmed not from a desire to understand the geography of the First Jewish Revolt, but from a belief, erroneous as it turned out, that the location of the Third Wall would determine the authenticity of the Holy Sepulchre Church as Jesus’ true burial place. Surrounded by buildings that crowded up against it in a labyrinthine quarter of the walled Old City, the Holy Sepulchre Church, ruled by a collection of quarrelsome Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, seemed a priori an unattractive candidate for Jesus’ true tomb.e Robinson himself described his visit to the church as “painful and revolting.”1 As we now know, the location of the Third Wall has nothing to do with the authenticity of the site of the Holy Sepulchre Church. But in the late 19th and early 20th centuries it was thought that if the Sukenik-Mayer wall was the Third Wall, the Second Wall must have run along the line of the present northern wall of the Old City. This line enclosed the Holy Sepulchre Church; moreover, the Second Wall was built before Jesus’ crucifixion. If the Second Wall enclosed the Holy Sepulchre Church, the church could not be Jesus’ burial site because, according to the Gospels, Jesus’ tomb lay outside the city wall. So the argument ran. That is why the principal defender of the Holy Sepulchre Church as authentic, Père Louis-Hugues Vincent, argued so vehemently that the Sukenik-Mayer wall was not the Third Wall.

Recent excavations inside the Old City have shown, however, that the Second Wall did not enclose the Holy Sepulchre Church—regardless of whether the Third Wall was located on the line of the present north wall of the Old City or 1,500 feet further north. Today scholars are unanimous in concluding that the site of the Holy Sepulchre Church was outside the Second Wall at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion and is therefore an appropriate candidate, on this score, as the site of Jesus’ burial.

Since Robinson’s time, three major excavations have been conducted at the Sukenik-Mayer wall. In many ways, all three have found the same thing. The major differences concern not what was found, but how the finds should be interpreted. The first major excavation of the wall was conducted by E. L. Sukenik and L. A. Mayer between 1925 and 1927. This was before the development, or at least widespread adoption, of modern archaeological methods. Sukenik and Mayer paid almost no attention to the pottery and simply trenched along the wall—today a methodological sin of the highest order. Like Robinson, Sukenik and Mayer concluded that it was Josephus’s Third Wall.

The next important excavation of this wall was conducted by Kathleen Kenyon in 1965. Although Ms. Kenyon died in 1978 without writing a final report, she did express her views about the wall, and they are included in the final report. At first, Kenyon identified the wall as the south wall of one of Titus’s camps. Titus was the Roman commander at the siege of Jerusalem that ended on August 28, 70 A.D., with the destruction of the city and the burning of the Temple later, Ms. Kenyon abandoned the view that the Sukenik-Mayer wall was the wall of Titus’s camp in favor of the view that the wall represented the siege wall or circumvallation wall, as it is known, that Titus built north of the city. This wall prevented the Jews trapped inside, who were suffering from famine and thirst, from leaving at night to forage for food. The circumvallation-wall theory is a second major contender for the wall’s identification.

Between 1972 and 1974 two Israeli archaeologists, Sara Ben-Arieh and Ehud Netzer, conducted excavations along this wall and published their results in the Israel Exploration Journal in 19752—before the final report on the Kenyon excavation appeared. The Israeli excavators’ conclusion was clear. In the words of one of them, “We can certainly ascribe this [wall section] to Josephus’s ‘Third Wall.’”3

Frustrating though it is, the negative arguments on all sides appear stronger than the affirmative arguments.

But before considering those arguments, let us look at the wall itself. It is peculiar. On the one hand, it consists of some magnificent, carefully laid ashlarsf of impressive size; on the other hand, it also includes large field stones with the irregular spaces between the stones filled with mortar and pebbles. Some stones protrude nearly two feet from the face of the wall, creating a highly irregular facade. Only a few courses of the wall have survived, and some scholars have suggested that this part was intended to be underground. One major problem is that we don’t know what the upper part of the wall looked like.g

The wall is about 14 feet thick—obviously intended to be a major structure. Both the north and south faces include beautifully dressed ashlars, some with carefully drafted margins; large, roughly dressed stones; and boulders and field stones. The core of the wall—between the two faces—is filled with mortar and unshaped field stones. The larger ashlars are as much as 16 feet long, 6 feet high and 4 ½ feet deep—impressive stones indeed. Ashlars and boulders are combined indiscriminately in both faces of the wall. The wall extends for about 2,500 feet—at least that is the extent to which fragments have been found.

The wall was built on bedrock—the surface cleared but not shaped for this purpose. A fill was deposited against the base of the wall at the time it was built. The contents of this “foundation deposit” are important in determining when the wall was built.

The Sukenik-Mayer excavations in the 1920s could not securely date the wall. Now two subsequent excavations—the Kenyon excavation and the Ben-Arieh and Netzer excavation—using the most modern methods and the most up-to-date pottery chronologies, have made it unmistakably clear that the wall was built in the first century, before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. This effectively demolishes the efforts to associate the wall with a defense line in the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome, the so-called Bar Kokhba revolt (132–135 A.D.).

At first glance, Ms. Kenyon’s theory that the wall was Titus’s circumvallation wall seems attractive. The wall seems to have been thrown up quickly from whatever materials might be available. By contrast, Josephus tells us that the beauty of the ashlars in the Third Wall was in no way inferior to the ashlars in the wall of the Temple itself. The rough stones in the Sukenik-Mayer wall would hardly qualify for this description. Yet what we see may have been only that part intended to be underground.

One certain test of Ms. Kenyon’s circumvallation wall theory would seem to be whether the wall faced north or south. If it were Titus’s circumvallation wall, it would face south. Conversely, if it were the Third Wall built by Agrippa, it would face north.

Unfortunately, the facings on this wall leave little to choose from. True, there are some beautiful ashlars in the south face. But the same can be found in the north face.h And rough, poorly dressed stones, as well as undressed boulders, can also be found on both sides of the wall.

But there is another clue. A series of regularly spaced towers protrudes from the wall. Several of these towers were found in the Sukenik-Mayer excavations in the 1920s. Two additional towers were carefully excavated in the Ben-Arieh-Netzer excavations in the 1970s. All of these jutted out from the northern face of the wall! In the words of Ben-Arieh and Netzer, this “prove[s] that the wall faced north.”4

If, indeed, the wall faced north, this is the end of Ms. Kenyon’s circumvallation wall theory. Titus’s circumvallation wall most certainly faced south, not north.

Yet Ms. Kenyon never abandoned her belief in the circumvallation-wall theory, despite the wall’s northward-projecting towers. She never addressed in print the problem these towers presented to her theory. Based on conversations with her, some believe she continued to espouse the circumvallation-wall theory based on walls in Roman Europe that had projections on the inside or back of the wall. For example, in Britain, Hadrian’s Wall clearly faces north, but all of the mile castles, turrets and camps project south (inward). In Asia and the eastern Mediterranean, however, this is never true- from earlier times through the Roman period, towers projected from the outside of the wall’s curtain. One especially close example in a Roman-period wall is found at Jerash, which has forward-projecting towers, probably built in response to the uncertainties of the First Jewish Revolt.

Moreover, the towers in the Sukenik-Mayer wall are only about 28 feet by 35 feet. Small towers like this were not suitable for barracks or major supply depots. They were used mostly for artillery platforms, for passing signals along the wall and for enfilade—to hit the enemy all along the wall by aiming from the side. Even in Roman Europe, towers designed for these purposes were oriented toward the enemy and not toward the rear of the wall. As Ms. Kenyon’s own area supervisor has observed- “It would have been an extraordinary anomaly if any wall-builder in Palestine had built a barricade with towers projecting inside from the curtain.”5

Finally, the Israeli archaeologists who excavated at the wall in the 1970s found remains of structure walls and plastered floors from a building that was built contemporaneously with the Sukenik-Mayer wall. This building was on the south side of the Sukenik-Mayer wall. If the Sukenik-Mayer wall were Titus’s circumvallation wall we would hardly expect a structure to be built on the exposed side of it.
If all these factors do not demolish Ms. Kenyon’s circumvallation-wall theory, there is more.

According to Josephus, Titus’s circumvallation wall stood inside the Third Wall. It was built only after Titus entered the area enclosed by the Third Wall and even after the Second Wall had fallen. On the 15th day of the siege, Titus captured the Third Wall and pitched his camp inside the city. Five days later, he broke through the Second Wall which, according to Josephus, he demolished “entirely.” Despite Titus’s success, the starving Jews would secretly leave the city through tunnels at night to forage for food. A few even stole some food supplies from the Roman commissariat. When Titus learned of this, he built the circumvallation wall in three days to shut in the defenders.

If the Sukenik-Mayer wall were Titus’s circumvallation wall, then the Third Wall must have been at the line of the present north wall of the Old City. But then the defenders of the circumvallation-wall theory would have to conclude that Titus built his circumvallation wall more than 1,500 feet beyond his own camp inside the Third Wall. This would be absurd. Titus’s wall must have been much further south, inside the Third Wall. There is no need to wonder whether the Sukenik Mayer wall could have been constructed in three days,6 or whether Josephus exaggerated the speed with which the project was completed. The Sukenik-Mayer wall is much too far north to be Titus’s circumvallation wall.

Titus’s wall is probably beyond recovery. It was almost certainly demolished—whatever was left of it—when the emperor Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem in the second century A.D. as a Roman colony and renamed it Aelia Capitolina to obliterate any Jewish association with the city.
In conclusion, as one recent observer has remarked, the circumvallation-wall theory is “simply untenable.”7

The majority of scholars today accept the Sukenik-Mayer wall as the Third Wall of Jerusalem, as constructed by Agrippa I (41–44 A.D.) and completed by the Jewish rebels shortly before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Most maps of Jerusalem at the time of the First Jewish Revolt draw the northern boundary of the city on the line of the Sukenik-Mayer wall. But it is becoming increasingly difficult to hold to this position.

The most recent evidence comes from the just published final report of Ms. Kenyon’s 1965 excavation at the Sukenik-Mayer wall. This part of the report was written by Emmett W. Hamrick, area supervisor of the three trenches Kenyon excavated perpendicular to the Sukenik-Mayer wall. In what Hamrick calls the “foundation deposit” of the wall—the material thrown up against the base of the wall when it was built—the excavators found considerable pottery that can be securely dated. None of it dates later than 70 A.D., so the wall must have been built earlier.

But a number of coins were also found in this foundation deposit. Two so-called procurator coinsi are of special interest. The first dates from the 14th year of the reign of Emperor Claudius (54 A.D.). The second dates from the fifth year of Nero’s reign (58 A.D.). According to Hamrick, the locus where the Claudius coin was found “was homogeneous with the rest of the foundation deposit.”

If the Sukenik-Mayer wall may be dated by these coins, then that wall cannot be the Third wall built by Aprippa I between 41 and 44 A.D. You can’t have coins minted in the 50s sealed in the foundation deposit of a wall built in the 40s! The wall must have been built after 58 A.D.

The argument is strong, but not as powerful as it might at first seem. The coins may be intrusive. After all, there are only two of them; they could have gotten there during a repair of the wall or in some other way now unknown. Perhaps the excavators were not as careful as they thought they were. Or this part of the wall could have been laid later than the part built by Agrippa in the 40s; this could have been part of the wall laid by the rebels shortly before 70 A.D.
Yet the coins make us wonder if this really is the Third Wall.

There are other problems with the Third-Wall theory- In 1937–1938, R. W. Hamilton conducted an excavation adjacent to Damascus Gate in the northern wall of the Old City. He exposed some extraordinarily beautiful Herodian masonry—equal to Herodian masonry found anywhere.j However, he failed to excavate the wall to bedrock—he simply probed the final meter with an iron rod. As a result, he misdated this wall to the second century A.D. In 1965 J. B. Hennessy extended Hamilton’s excavation at Damascus Gate, went down to bedrock and redated the wall to the Herodian period—pre-70 A.D. Here, in the opinion of many scholars, is the Third Wall built by Agrippa I between 41 and 44 A.D. and completed by the Jewish rebels shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem.k Anyone who argues that the Sukenik-Mayer wall is really the Third Wall must explain the Hamilton-Hennessy wall. One of Israel’s greatest scholars, Michael Avi-Yonah, who defended the Sukenik-Mayer wall as the Third Wall, argued that the Hamilton-Hennessy wall is the Second Wall. But this is a difficult, uncertain and speculative argument at best. In short, if the Hamilton-Hennessy wall is in fact the Third Wall, the northern line of Jerusalem at the time of the First Jewish Revolt roughly followed the line of the present northern wall of the Old City and the Sukenik-Mayer wall cannot be the Third Wall.

Another fact that has led scholars to doubt that the Sukenik-Mayer wall is the Third Wall is that no return to the city has been found. If the Sukenik-Mayer wall were really the Third Wall, at some point it would turn south (at both ends) to return to the city center. Yet no such remains have been found.

Those who defend the Third Wall thesis suggest that Edward Robinson nearly 145 years ago noted masonry projecting south that he identified as the southern extension of the Third Wall.8 Moreover, the easternmost trace of the Sukenik-Mayer wall has a knob in it that Ben-Arieh and Netzer have interpreted as the beginning of a turn south.

Still another problem with the Third Wall theory is that the entire area south of the Sukenik-Mayer wall, between the wall and the northern wall of the Old City, seems to have been uninhabited before the Jewish Revolt. True, there have been few scientific excavations in this area. But there have been many building excavations, and these were carefully monitored by such astute observers as Louis-Hugues Vincent, Conrad Schick, Pierre Benoit and others. None ever reported building remains in this area. At least something would be expected to turn up if this area were enclosed by the Third Wall. The Third Wall enclosed a suburb that the Roman commander Cestius burned early in the revolt. Did this suburb disappear without a trace, or is it more likely to be found further south, inside the present confines of the Old City? For at least one recent observer, the conclusion that the Sukenik-Mayer wall is not the Third Wall is “obvious”; it is “unnecessary to belabour” the point.9
It remains possible that the Sukenik-Mayer wall is the Third Wall, but the argument certainly has its difficulties.

These difficulties recently led Hamrick to propose a new solution, that the Sukenik-Mayer wall was a “barrier wall,” erected by the Jewish insurgents to keep the Romans at a safe distance from the vulnerable northern parts of the city. It was, as some have called it, a Fourth Wall.

Hamrick notes that similar outworks are known throughout the Hellenistic and Roman world. They were planned and built as a permanent part of a city’s defense system.

According to one expert, barrier walls became common with the invention of the catapult in the fourth century B.C. The catapult could fling a round ballista stone (plural, ballistae) about 1,250 feet. The barrier wall that Hamrick argues for in Jerusalem is about 1,500 feet north of Hamrick’s candidate for the Third Wall, just outside the range of a Roman catapult, approaching the city from the north.

Moreover, barrier walls had no extension walls to other walls. This is consistent with the absence of any southern extensions in the Sukenik-Mayer wall.

Hamrick creates the following scenario based on his Barrier-Wall theory-

As described by Josephus, in the early 40s Agrippa I began to construct a Third Wall to enclose the northern suburbs of the city. This wall, according to Hamrick, roughly followed the line of the northern wall of the present Old City. As we know from Josephus, Agrippa never finished this wall and it remained abandoned for more than two decades. When Cestius Gallus came to quell disturbances among the Jews at the beginning of the revolt, he easily marched over the remains of the uncompleted Third Wall and burned the suburbs outside the Second Wall. After an incredible defeat at the hands of the Jews, however, Cestius fled. The Jews now realized their vulnerability on the north and, knowing that the Romans would return to redress their humiliation, they not only completed the Third Wall, but hastily built a barrier wall 1,500 feet north of the Third Wall to keep the Roman ballistae at a safe distance.

The Jews were not trying to build a beautiful wall, but a massively strong one. They cleared the site to bedrock and hurriedly assembled boulders and ashlars from wherever they were available. The result was an imposing barrier wall averaging 15 feet thick.

In the end, however, the Barrier Wall did no good. Titus attacked not from the north, but from the west. He scaled the Hinnom Valley at a point just north of the present Jaffa Gate.

Hamrick even speculates as to what happened to the Barrier Wall-l After Titus successfully stormed the Third Wall from the west (thereby avoiding the Barrier Wall), he robbed the stones from the Barrier Wall to build his circumvallation wall inside the Third Wall.

A neat theory, but not without holes. The most obvious is Josephus’s failure to mention the existence of a barrier wall. According to Hamrick’s theory, Titus executed a brilliant maneuver. An attack from the north would have been a piece of cake were it not for the Barrier Wall. It was the Barrier Wall, according to Hamrick, that made an attack from the north so difficult. But Titus outsmarted the Jews by outflanking the Barrier Wall and attacking from the west, up the precipitous slope of the Hinnom Valley.

Is it conceivable that this brilliant maneuver would go unmentioned by Josephus? If Hamrick’s scenario is accurate, the Barrier Wall would have been the key determinant of Titus’s strategy. Yet are we to believe that Josephus failed to explain why Titus adopted this plan of attack and how he avoided the Jewish defenses?

In fact, Josephus’s account of Titus’s attack on Jerusalem actually conflicts with Hamrick’s hypothesis;10 it is not simply a question of Josephus’s silence regarding the Barrier Wall. Josephus tells us that when Titus approached the city from the north, he encountered no resistance until he was attacked by a group of Jews who came out of a gate that, as Hamrick admits, must have been in the Third Wall. Hamrick recognizes the problem- “Surely if this gate had been in a fourth wall Josephus would have been obliged to note the existence of such a wall. But how had Titus been able to approach the Third Wall from the north [without resistance] if a formidable ‘Barrier Wall’ had blocked his way? One can only admit that some of the pieces of the puzzle are missing.”11 Some of the pieces indeed!

The Sukenik-Mayer wall’s lack of returns to the south is also a problem for the Barrier-Wall theory. Without a side connection, the Barrier Wall could easily be outflanked. As one commentator has argued- “There is no use in a defense line without some continuation to the south, along the slopes [of the adjoining valleys] whereby they could be connected to the other defense lines of Jerusalem12 Hamrick cites examples of barrier walls across a valley and across a narrow peninsula. It is easy to understand why such barrier walls consisted of straight lines (without sides), but that would not explain a straight line without returns in a barrier wall built to defend a city in a comparatively open area.

As Amos Kloner has recently pointed out, the supposedly analogous barrier walls Hamrick relies on as parallels are in fact much longer than the Jerusalem wall. Even if the Jerusalem wall did extend to the valley walls on either side (the Hinnom Valley on the west and the Kidron Valley on the east), these moderate slopes are “unsuitable for walls to be built against them.”13

Problems abound and satisfactory solutions are rare—points to remember the next time you look at a map showing the northern wall of Jerusalem at the time of the First Jewish Revolt against Rome.

a. A. D. Tushingham, Excavations in Jerusalem, 1961–1967 (see review in Books in Brief, in this issue).

b. Although this is the name by which scholars frequently refer to this wall, it is also known by a number of other names- the northern line, the northern trace and several names that beg the question (the Third Wall, the Circumvallation Wall, the Barrier Wall).

E. L. Sukenik and L. A. Mayer excavated this wall from 1925 to 1927 and in 1940. See their publications, The Third Wall of Jerusalem (London- Oxford University Press, 1930) and “A New Section of the Third Wall, Jerusalem,” Palestine Exploration Quarterly (1944), pp. 145–151.

c. See “Jerusalem’s Water Supply During Siege,” BAR 07-04, by Yigal Shiloh; Hershel Shanks, The City of David (Biblical Archaeology Society, 1975).

d. See Benjamin Mazar, “Excavations Near Temple Mount Reveal Splendors of Herodian Jerusalem,” BAR 06-04; Hershel Shanks, “Excavating in the Shadow of the Temple Mount,” BAR 12-06; Meir Ben-Dov, “Herod’s Mighty Temple Mount,” BAR 12-06.

e. See Dan Bahat, “Does the Holy Sepulchre Church Mark the Burial of Jesus?” BAR 12-03; Gabriel Barkay, “The Garden Tomb—Was Jesus Buried Here?” BAR 12-02.

f. An ashlar is a rectangular building stone with surfaces trimmed at right angles, permitting a tight fit against adjacent stones.

g. Some scholars have even suggested the outside possibility that the upper part was never built. This would solve a lot of problems.

h. In 1966, during a commercial excavation for a new building, a line of ashlars from the north face was uncovered by a bulldozer. This line of ashlars was similar to the beautiful dressed stones Kathleen Kenyon had found a year earlier in the south face.

i. The Roman procurators, or governors, of Judea struck coins clearly dated according to the regnal years of the Roman emperors whose names appear on them.

j. Remember that Josephus said that ashlars in the Third Wall were no less beautiful than the ashlars of the Temple itself.

k. In a recently published article, Amos Kloner rejects the argument that the wall Hennessy excavated can be dated to the period before 70 A.D. [Amos Kloner, “The ‘Third Wall’ in Jerusalem and the ‘Cave of the Kings,’” Levant 19 (1986)]. Hennessy’s preliminary report (all that was published) is, Kloner argues, “very concise, lacking in detail.” A pre-70 A.D. road was excavated but, says Kloner, “the connection between the levels of the early road from the Second Temple period and the building of the gate and adjoining wall is not clear.” Kloner notes that at other points along the northern wall of the Old City where excavations “have been conducted, the excavators have found no trace of a pre-70 wall.”

For Hamrick, however, “Hennessy’s sound archaeological evidence has demonstrated that the Third Wall did in fact follow the general route of the present north wall of the Old City.” According to Hamrick, Hennessy “established beyond any reasonable doubt (with full stratigraphic, ceramic and numismatic evidence) that Agrippa’s Third Wall is found on the east side of the present-day Damascus Gate.” Hamrick worked with Hennessy in one of the soundings and “witnessed the evidence firsthand.”

Kloner is equally confident- “It is almost certain that the line of the present northern wall of the Old City cannot be identified with the line of the Third Wall of Josephus. Clinging to this theory ignores the archaeological evidence first presented by Hamilton and strengthened by the various examinations over the last decade.” (Kloner, “The ‘Third Wall,’” p. 126) Obviously, there is a great need for someone to restudy Hennessy’s field notes.

l. Hamrick found evidence in the Kenyon excavation that the Barrier Wall was dismantled soon after it was built- The stones were robbed, and in the fill known to archaeologists as a robber trench, the archaeologists found first-century A.D. pottery. Therefore the stones of the wall had been robbed by the first century.

1. P. J. Simons, Jerusalem of the Old Testatment (Leiden- Brill, 1952), chapter 8.

2. Sara Ben-Arieh and Ehud Netzer, “Excavations Along the ‘Third Wall’ of Jerusalem, 1972–1974,” Israel Exploration Journal Vol. 4, No. 2 (1974), pp. 97–107.

3. Ben-Arieh, “The ‘Third Wall’ of Jerusalem,” in Jerusalem Revealed, ed. Yigael Yadin (Jerusalem- Israel Exploration Society, 1975), pp. 60, 62.

4. Ben-Arieh and Netzer, “Where Is the Third Wall of Agrippa I?” Biblical Archaeologist (BA) 42 (1979), p. 140.

5. Emmett Willard Hamrick in A. D. Tushingham, Excavations in Jerusalem 1961–1967, Vol. I (Toronto- Royal Ontario Musuem, 1986), p. 225.

6. Cf. Ilene B. McNulty, “The North Wall Outside Jerusalem,” BA 42 (1979), p. 141.

7. Hamrick, in Excavations in Jerusalem, p. 230.

8. Edward Robinson, Biblical Researches in Palestine and the Adjacent Regions (London- J. Murray); cf. McNulty, “The North Wall,” p. 143.

9. Hamrick, in Excavations in Jerusalem, p. 230.

10. Götz Schmitt, “Die dritte Mauer Jerusalems,” Zietschuft des deutchen Palästina-Vereins 97, p. 169.

11. Hamrick, in Excavations in Jerusalem, pp. 231–232.

12. Kloner, “The ‘Third Wall,’” p. 122, note 11.

13. Kloner, “The ‘Third Wall,’” p. 122, note 11.

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