In 2013, Dr. Eilat Mazar and her team of diggers unearthed one of the most influential discoveries in the field of Biblical archaeology in the Ophel excavations.
Ophel, Hebrew for “a high place” (to climb to), is a biblical term, used since the times of the First Temple, given to part of a settlement that is elevated relative to its surroundings. The Ophel in Jerusalem refers to an area approximately 50 meters south from the Temple Mount on the border with the City of David, the site of ancient Jerusalem’s capital of the pre-Babylonian exile era.
General Sir Charles Warren initiated the first excavations in the Ophel area in 1867, but it wasn’t until 1968 under Benjamin Mazar that remains from the First Temple period (from 957 to 586 BCE), such as water cisterns, tombs and parts of Robinson’s arch, were unearthed. Carrying on her father’s legacy, Dr. Eilat Mazar first tackled the site in 1986 and returned three years ago to continue.
Dr. Mazar’s persistence was well rewarded. Just five days into the summer dig, the team of Hebrew University archaeologists was astonished to uncover a trove of archaeological goodies: 36 gold coins, as well as several pieces gold and silver jewelry. But the prize find was the now-famous Menorah Treasure, a 10-centimeter golden medallion with three sacred Jewish motifs etched into it: a menorah, a shofar (ram’s horn), and a Torah scroll. (Click to Article)