During July-September 2011 conservation measures were carried out in the Jerusalem Wall Builders Garden. The conservation measures, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Jerusalem Development Authority and the Jerusalem Foundation, were implemented by Tasguy Asmaim (chief conservator), Arch. Avi Mashiah and Yuval Avraham (conservation survey and plans),Ing. Ofer Cohen and Ing. Yael Rosenthal (engineering survey and plans),Yoram Saʽad (supervision of conservation work),Razam Samir, Ghazali Muhammad and Mustafa Hawas (laborers).
While treating the Armenian wall (2009) within the framework of the Jerusalem Walls Conservation Project (2007-2011) the need to carry out conservation measures on the ancient walls in the Wall Builders Garden became apparent. The Israel Antiquities Authority initiated a project to conserve and rehabilitate the garden, with the support of the Jerusalem Development Authority and the Jerusalem Foundation.
The Wall Builders Garden is located at the foot of the Old City Walls, in the southern part of the western wall. The garden covers an area of c. 8 dunams in which there are wall remains from different periods. The line of the wall bordering the garden (the “Armenian Wall”) was preserved throughout the city’s history, from the time of Hezekiah’s Wall which was built in the late First Temple period. The city wall of seven different periods can clearly be identified based on their construction style: Hasmonean, Herodian, Byzantine, Fatimid, Crusader, Ayyubid and Ottoman. There are also tombs located there that date to the First Temple period and a large industrial building from the same period.
Accelerated weathering processes in some of the ancient sections of the wall were discerned during a conservation survey performed there by the planners Avi Mashiah and Yuval Abraham and engineer Yael Rosenthal.
The Conservation Measures Included:
Vegetation: the vegetation was removed and the area was sprayed with an herbicide; the
stone surfaces were cleaned of microbiology.
Bedrock: the bedrock was washed and stabilized by means of anchors.
Building stones: the building stones on the tops of the walls were stabilized; missing
building stones were replaced; cracks were filled in the stone.
Wall cores: the exposed wall cores were stabilized by means of removing stones and
lining the cores with debesh construction.
Tops of walls: the tops of walls were sealed with lime-based mortar and proper drainage was prepared.
Pointing up the joints between building stones: the joints were cleaned, deep filling and
the re-pointing of cracks were done.
Plaster: the edges of the original plaster were stabilized.
The Main Finds that were Treated:
‘First Temple Period Tombs’ and the Hasmonean Wall: trees were removed, seasonal vegetation was sprayed with an herbicide, joints were re-pointed with mortar, building stones in the top of the wall were stabilized, the top of the wall was sealed and drainage was prepared, the edges of the Herodian plaster were stabilized and the wall was cleaned by means of a brush and steam (Figures 1, 2, 3).
Remains of Ancient Walls: seasonal vegetation was sprayed with an herbicide (this step required dismantling and rebuilding), the joints were pointed up with mortar in a manner that matched the different construction methods, detached building stones at the top of the wall were stabilized, a cracked stone was stabilized by means of stainless steel/fiberglass pins, the top of the wall was sealed, a tamped bedding was applied to the tops of the walls and drainage was prepared.
Hasmonean Tower: the tower’s cornerstone was returned to its original place and was stabilized, the joints between the tower’s paving stones were pointed and beddings were installed between the paving stones, detached building stones on the top of the wall were stabilized, deep filling of joints and grouting between the tower’s stones were done and the ancient terrace wall adjacent to the tower was stabilized (Figure 4).
Herodian Staircase and ‘Parallel Walls’: cement was removed from the tops of the walls and they were sealed by means of debesh and lime based mortar was used to point up the joints between the debesh, deep filling of joints with lime based mortar was done (Figures 5, 6).
Ayyubid Tower: seasonal vegetation was sprayed with an herbicide, joints were pointed up with mortar and stone wedges (klinim), the top of a wall was sealed, stones were dismantled and reconstruction was carried out, the sides of the exposed wall core were stabilized by means of removing stones from the side of the wall and lining it with debesh in order to prevent water from pooling and seeping into the wall core (Figure 7).