Excavating Jerusalem’s Royal Quarter
Herbert W. Armstrong and Ambassador College sent hundreds of students to assist Benjamin Mazar in the excavations of the Temple Mount during the 1970s and 1980s. Today, the foundation has revived this humanitarian effort by sending student volunteers from Herbert W. Armstrong College to assist Benjamin Mazar’s granddaughter, Dr. Eilat Mazar, in excavating Jerusalem’s royal quarter. Excavation sites include the biblical King David’s ancient palace in the City of David and King Solomon’s royal structures on the Ophel at the foot of the Temple Mount.
Spectacular discoveries have emerged from the dust of history, the latest of which is the bulla of King Hezekiah of Judah—a clay seal stamped with Hezekiah’s name, found in the royal quarter of the Ophel. At a press conference in Jerusalem on Dec. 2, 2015, Dr. Mazar provided the English translation of the bulla’s Hebrew inscription: “Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz, King of Judah.” She called it the most important individual discovery of her career—a career that includes discovering King David’s palace, Nehemiah’s wall, bullae belonging to princes who persecuted the prophet Jeremiah, a Davidic-era secret tunnel, a Solomonic-era wall, and a spectacular golden medallion featuring a menorah from the sixth century B.C.
Herbert W. Armstrong College student volunteers currently are processing, cataloging and publishing the dig’s most recent phase, and they look forward to uncovering even more of the site. With their help, Dr. Mazar published volume 1 of her final report on the Ophel excavations in December 2015.
Liberty Bell Park
Herbert W. Armstrong worked with Teddy Kollek, mayor of Jerusalem from 1965 to 1993, to create Liberty Bell Park in celebration of the United States’ bicentennial anniversary. The park, dedicated on July 4, 1978, features a replica of Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell, and the foundation contributes to the park’s preservation and maintenance as part of its efforts to revive Armstrong’s humanitarian legacy.
The personal bulla of King Hezekiah, discovered during Dr. Eilat Mazar's excavations in the Ophel in Jerusalem. The bulla Dr. Mazar unearthed in 2009 is the first seal impression of an Israelite or Judean king that has ever been found in a scientific archaeological excavation.
Medallion and Coins
Ancient Jewish treasure discovered near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. The large medallion bears a symbol of the Jewish people: the menorah.
The 36 coins have been dated to various Byzantine emperors, spanning a period of 250 years from mid-fourth century to the early seventh century A.D., not later than the time of Mauricius (582-602). This is only the third cache of gold coins ever found in Jerusalem excavations.
Akkadian Cuneiform Tablet
In 2010, Dr. Mazar’s excavation team found the clay fragment containing 14th-century B.C. Akkadian cuneiform script, the oldest text ever found in Jerusalem.
Dr. Mazar’s team excavates a fortification wall that was rapidly built in 52 days by Nehemiah nearly 2,500 years ago.
Ophel Clay Inscription
This inscription is incised along the rim of a large pithos, a neckless ceramic jar. Dated to the 10th century B.C., the artifact predates by 250 years the earliest known Hebrew inscription from Jerusalem, which is from the period of King Hezekiah at the end of the eighth century B.C.
Hidden City of David Tunnel
Dr. Eilat Mazar holds a light at the end of an ancient tunnel dating back to the 10th century B.C. that may have biblical significance. “The tunnel’s characteristics, date and location testify with high probability that the water tunnel is the one called tsinnor in the story of King David’s conquest of Jerusalem,” said Dr. Mazar
Seals of Jehucal and Gedeliah
In 2005, Eilat Mazar discovered a tiny seal that bore a three-line Paleo-Hebrew inscription: “Belonging to Yehucal, son of Shelemiyahu, son of Shovi.” This was the seal of Jehucal. In 2007, Mazar discovered another bulla at the same location, which read, “Gedalyahu ben Pashur,” or, Belonging to Gedaliah, son of Pashur. These were the very names of Jeremiah’s two accusers specifically mentioned in Jeremiah 38:1.