The Size of Ancient Jerusalem

Yigal Shiloh, in Biblical Archaeology Review 14:02, Mar/Apr 1988:

We can’t imagine the grandeur of Jerusalem in the Iron Age. Even I can’t imagine it. I’ve excavated royal centers like Megiddo, like Hazor, and I’ve worked on monumental art. These other sites covered about 60 to 100 dunams [15 to 25 acres], generally speaking. And these were big sites. Jerusalem had 60 dunams [15 acres] in David’s time. That was the area of the Canaanite city. But when David added the Temple Mount and all the adjacent area, we jump to 150 dunams [37 acres] in the tenth century. By the eighth century we are talking about a site of 600 dunams [150 acres]. I try to stress this in my lectures, but I don’t know how to do it. I mean, this is six times bigger than any other site in Palestine. And that is not the end of it. Because, we now know from the work of Gaby Barkay and others, the northern area was settled too, although it was not fortified. So you have to add a lot of suburbia around it. We are talking about a phenomenon that never existed before in Palestine. What is the next biggest site in Judea? Lachish with 75 to 80 dunams [20 acres], a little more than 10 percent the size of Jerusalem.

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