Macquarie University
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Processes in the site formation of the City of David ridge, Jerusalem

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posted on 2024-04-04, 01:55 authored by Joshua Errington

Seemingly centred away from the natural summit at the Temple Mount to its north, the narrow, sloping form of the City of David ridge differs from every other traditional tell in the greater Ancient Near East. Despite a vast archaeological exposure, it has been extremely difficult to ascertain the true nature of each phase of the evolution of this part of the Jerusalem landscape. This thesis documents a study of how the landscape of the ridge evolved throughout millennia of occupation from natural hill-scape to its modern form as an archaeological mound, through the lens of site-formation processes. For the purposes of this research, site formation refers to the geo-archaeological makeup of the site, in particular of human intervention and constructs in the modification of landscape, the greatest contributor to the formation of the site. By mapping the published locations of bedrock and architectural features of each expedition onto a single plan and correlating this data with the overarching stratigraphy, a tentative reconstruction of the evolution of the city, with respect to its bedrock structure, in each phase of urban development. 

Key research objectives have been met, and this thesis details: (1) the locations, formation and usage of exposed bedrock, (2) a reconstruction of the natural hill-scape (Figure VI-10), (3) an overarching stratigraphy, constructed according to the conclusions of Jerusalem’s many archaeologists and scholars, (4) the graphical modelling of all published architectural features prior to 1968 and most thereafter, (5) the listing of materials and construction techniques, (6) the categorisation of different types of archaeological fills, (7) an assessment of evidence for both erosion and preservation of remains over time, (8) the reconstruction of the evolution of the southern Jerusalem landscape, (9) an assessment of the scale and layout of earthworks and public construction and (10) an examination of the nature of settlement and site utilisation over time. 

For the researcher of Jerusalem, this thesis contains a detailed survey of the city’s settlement history, history of excavations, a discussion of the topography of the 19th century city, the modelling of excavated remains on a single set of plans and within a broad stratigraphic model, and both a bedrock and landscape study with respect to period and site formation processes. The appendix contains a compilation and critical analysis of the ridge’s various excavations from 1863 until the present. This study allows the City of David ridge to be contrasted with other settlement areas in and around Jerusalem.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. History of research: site information -- Chapter 3. The settlement history of Jerusalem: an overview and history of research -- Chapter 4. History of research: the City of David (ridge) excavations -- Chapter 5. Methodology -- Chapter 6. Data collection analysis -- Chapter 7. Discussion -- Chapter 8. Conclusions -- Bibliography -- Appendices

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Doctor of Philosophy

Department, Centre or School

Department of Ancient History

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Kyle Keimer

Additional Supervisor 1

Yann Tristant


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:






535 pages

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