Ir David, City of David, Jerusalem, Israel
What does GPR have to do with this discovery?
In December 2007 this news was broken in the Jerusalem
Post, as excerpted below:
"Israeli archeologists have uncovered a monumental Second Temple
structure opposite the Temple Mount that was likely Queen Helena's
palace, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday.
Major 2nd Temple structure uncovered
The building was unearthed during a six-month excavation in the
Givati parking lot just outside the Old City's Dung Gate,
ahead of the planned expansion of the Western Wall parking lot.
The site also indicates that the ancient City of David was much
larger than previously thought, said archeologist Doron Ben-Ami,
who is directing the dig at the site.
The palace, which was destroyed by the Romans when they
demolished the Second Temple in 70 CE, was dated to the
end of the Second Temple period by pottery and stone
vessels, as well as an assortment of coins from that
time, Ben-Ami said."
Here's Our Story
Before the Parking Lot Excavations at Ir David
In June 2003, the Mnemotrix Team was in Jerusalem. In cooperation with
Eli Shukrun, chief archaeologist for the City of David excavation project,
we had the opportunity to survey a portion of the excavation areas in Ir
David, or, the City of David.
The results of that report can be seen in our June 2003 report.
A final question that was posed to us at the end of the day was,
can you help us decide
should we or shouldn't we bother to look underneath this
parking lot? No one had any idea, and getting a permit
to dig up this functional city parking lot would be a
hassle. Would it be worth the effort?
The image to the left is all anyone could see, looking at the parking
lot divided by a metal partition from the existing site.
So, in the parking lot adjacent to excavation pits on the north side,
we did some GPR to see what could be seen ahead of
excavating this area. As described in our June 2003 report:|
"What we discovered was that about 10 to 11 meters from the east boundary of our survey, we passed over something which was interrupting our signal consistently in the same area. Upon further study in post-processing, we discovered that while faint, there appeared to be a large reflection whose peak was at the precise point where we were encountering this anomaly. This could indicate something of large dimensions in the sub-surface. Or there could be some other source of interference at this point causing this phenomenon."
In December of 2003 we had the opportunity to return to the site to
see what progress had been made in the excavations, and took some photos.
Below is what was in fact found around this same parking lot area once
it was excavated.|
Excavated area where old wall was found several meters down
Closer view of remnants of wall|
|| By 2007 after several years of digging, what we saw was finally identified as what is thought to be Queen Helena's Palace, a major 2nd Temple structure. So ... who knows what lies beneath the rest of the bustling city and the wide deserts beyond? Clearly GPR can greatly aid in identifying which places are worthy of more focused investigation and excavation. Good GPR helps the archaeologist get more bang for the buck!
Now, many years later, amazing things have continued to be uncovered. Watch this 2012 video for that story. You can see our part of it at about 12:27.