During 2004 and 2005 the archaeological excavations east of Herod’s Gate in Jerusalem were resumed. The excavations in these seasons were focused in the eastern part of Area A, which was expanded an additional 450 sq m to the south. During the course of the excavations impressive remains were revealed that date from the end of the Iron Age until the modern era. These remains shed further light on the development of Jerusalem’s urban topography in this region. The urban construction in the region had already begun in the latter part of the Second Temple when a new residential quarter was founded there known as Bizita, or the new city. The story of the founding of this quarter is mentioned in Josephus’ description of the city. It seems from that time until today this region of Jerusalem was included as an integral part of the built-up city.
Important remains that were discovered in our excavations show the development of the city’s fortifications in this area. Especially important are the remains of the city walls from the Early Islamic period. These are fragmentary building remains that were discovered below the Old City wall. These fragments are built of roughly hewn stones and they join other sections of walls that were previously discovered in Area C. It seems these are the earliest fortification remains in this part of Jerusalem. If this is true then we have evidence showing the inclusion of the northeastern region inside the walls of the city. The city’s fortifications in the following periods also continue along the line of this wall.
At this point in our research it is difficult to determine the exact dating of this fortification. It seems however that it is part of the construction of the fortifications by the city’s first Muslim rulers, which probably began in the Umayyad period.