A one hundred year old Turkish hand grenade was recently discovered when conservation measures werebeing conducted near the Damascus Gate in the Old City.
A section of the city wall adjacent to Damascus Gate is currently being treated within the framework of the Jerusalem Walls Conservation Project, which is a joint effort on the part of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Jerusalem Development Authority, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Jerusalem Municipality.
On Monday, July 5, a conservation team of the Israel Antiquities Authority, under the direction of conservator Fuad Abu Taa, was engaged in dismantling fragments of a crushed stone that needed to be replaced in the city wall when they discovered a fist-size chunk of metal in the core of the wall.
In view of its metallic shape and its strange location, police sappers were summoned to the site, and after examining it they confirmed that this was indeed a grenade dating to the Ottoman period and that it contained c. 200-300 grams of explosives. The sappers removed the grenade and carried out a controlled detonation of it.
According to Yoram Saad, head of the Implementation Branch of the Israel Antiquities Authority Conservation Department, “The stone was partially crushed and someone probably chose it as a place to hide the hand grenade”.
As part of the Jerusalem City Walls Project, extensive measures are being taken to conserve and rehabilitate the Old City walls in response to the effects of destruction, neglect and weathering that the walls have incurred over the years. The conservation activity was preceded by careful preparations and the formulation of a multi-year program for documenting, planning and implementing the conservation and rehabilitation actions.