Under Jerusalem: The Buried History of One of the World’s Oldest Cities

One of the gates to the old city of Jerusalem (Steve Lubetkin Photo/Israel201111-207. Used by permission)
One of the gates to the old city of Jerusalem (Steve Lubetkin Photo/Israel201111-207. Used by permission)

In the book Under Jerusalem, author Andrew Lawler paints an accurate and compelling picture of what lies beneath the old city.

The introductory pages include a timeline of the old city beginning in 3000 BCE when the first homes and rock cut tombs were constructed near Jerusalem’s spring.Using reports from archeologists who have been digging since the French senator and Napoleon III’s  confident, Louis-Felicien Joseph Caignart de Saucy  turned over the the first shovel fill of dirt in 1863, archeologists have been digging under Jerusalem in attempt to find the truths and myths of the old city.The meticulously researched book describes what they uncovered and turns the biblical story of David, Solomon and the kings that came before and after into history to the point that reading it conjures up images of the Spielberg movie ”Raiders of the Lost Ark”.The efforts of these archeologists have a tremendous effect on understanding Jerusalem’s rich history and the hotly contested city of today, according to Lawler.

The author writes that the first archeologists tunneled down into the old city in order to find the artifacts and tunnels under the city, which have been buried for millennia. In more modern times it has been found to be more efficient leveling the ground layer by layer. Lawler writes that one of the more intriguing searches has been for the coveted Lost Ark of the Covenant, which is also called The Holy of Holies. Although it has never been found. To this day archeologists believe it to be buried under the Dome of the Rock outside the al-Aqsa mosque on top of the temple mount, or as Muslims call it, The Noble Sanctuary. Who owns the Dome of the Rock has led to many bloody and political battles which the author explains formed the archeological beginning of the Intifada, which continues until today. The dispute still hampers researchers’ search for David’s Tomb and the City of David, both of which have proven to be outside the old city’s walls at its southeastern end where a City of David National Park has been created. The book is not just for those who are interested in Jewish history. Many pages explain why the Holy Sepulcher was thought to be found in several locations until its present location was agreed upon.

By the conclusion of this exciting and educational book , the author provides a map for two peoples and three faiths to coexist peacefully.

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