Archaeology proves the famous biblical account of a desperate attempt to fortify the Holy City

DISCOVERED: Nehemiah’s Wall

Archaeology proves the famous biblical account of a desperate attempt to fortify the Holy City


It was supposed to be a simple salvage operation to repair a crumbling Hasmonean tower. But after Dr. Eilat Mazar and her team started excavating, they soon realized that this project would be far more. By the time they were done, they had made a sensational discovery.

Situated in the City of David, at the upper northern end of the Stepped Stone Structure, the Northern Tower was a poorly constructed fortified structure. It had the remains of a mikveh (ritual purification bath) on top. The Northern Tower was largely unearthed in the 1920s. Until 2007, archaeologists, including Dr. Mazar, generally assumed the tower dated to the Hasmonean period (second century B.C.E.).

By 2007, the Northern Tower was in a perilous condition, at risk of collapse. The structure had clearly been built quickly in antiquity, with its stones loosely cobbled together. Most significantly, nearly a century of nearby archaeological digs had compromised its structural integrity. Without immediate intervention, the tower would collapse. Early that year, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) attempted to carry out restoration work, yet the soundness of the tower continued to deteriorate. Thus, the IAA approved Dr. Mazar to lead a salvage excavation to repair the tower.


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