New Integrated Knowledge based approachs to the protection of cultural heritage from Earthquake-induced Risk

City of David, Givati Car Park
Stabilization and post-excavation conservation
OrdererEl’ad Association
DurationAugust-September 2007
Implemented by: Evgeny Ivanovsky
Aliza Van Zaiden
Yossi Vaknin
Tsagai Asma'in
Shiran Sabag

In March 2007 excavations under the direction of Dr. Doron Ben-Ami were conducted in the City of David parking facility known as the Givati Car Park, southeast of the Dung Gate. The excavation area is located on the northwestern side of the City of David spur. During the course of the excavation a formidable architectural complex dating to the latter part of the Second Temple period was discovered directly beneath a series of buildings from the Byzantine period. The site had been intentionally destroyed; enormous fieldstones were toppled from the tops of its walls into the building and onto the vaults in the basement level causing their collapse. The destruction of the building is dated to the year 70 CE. Conservation measures were implemented concurrent with the exposure of the site for the purpose of stabilizing the finds that were revealed.

The remains of a building of impressive dimensions were exposed; its walls rise to a height of more than 5 meters and are approximately 2 meters wide. It has a basement level, which was built of vaults made of neatly dressed white ashlar stones, is equipped with ritual baths (miqve’ot). The remains of different kinds of original plaster were also found: white smoothed lime plaster was preserved along the inside surface of the building’s walls; in the building’s stone collapse fresco remains were discovered that  were shades of red, yellow and green, with thin black lines – evidence that the plastered walls of the building were decorated with paint.
The physical problems that were identified and treated were:
1. Stone weathering – cracking and disintegration of the stones’ surface.
2. Bonding material missing from the joints.
3. Exposed wall cores.
4. Large voids deep inside the walls, some of the walls are in danger of collapse.
5. The tops of walls that were not sealed against water.
6. Vegetation had taken root in the building remains.

The primary causes for these problems are: the intentional damage that took place at the time of the destruction of the Second Temple; the environmental conditions to which the remains were subjected for approximately two thousand years; and also the recent exposure of the site which causes accelerated weathering processes due to the extreme change in the environmental conditions.
The conservation measures that were implemented at the site included:
1. Reinforcing the foundations with debesh construction.
2. Completing the construction with debesh in those places where the cores of wall remains are exposed and in the springing of the vaults.
3. Reinforce the springing of the vaults with debesh construction.
4. Clean the joints and pointing them up with lime-based bonding material mixed with aggregates such as pottery, quarry sand, ash, charcoal and gravel.
5. Install wooden supports.
6. Return stones to their original places.
7. Seal the tops of the walls with lime-based bonding material.
8. Fill in the voids in the walls.
9. Treat the plaster remains – stabilize the edges of the plaster and fill in lacunae.
10. Remove vegetation and treat the area with an herbicide.

Conservation guidance concurrent with the archaeological excavation is extremely important. The steps taken to protect the remains from the moment of their exposure minimize the negative effects that result from the extreme change in environmental conditions. The long term preservation of the site requires on-going conservation maintenance that will be performed by a conservator.

To view the figures, click on the figure caption
Detail of a wall and the springing of the vault prior to treatment

Cleaning joints and filing in bonding material.

A wall after treatment.

General view after the completion of the treatment.

Additional Projects
 Derekh Hebron - Conservation of the aqueduct to ancient Jerusalem
 The Western Wall, The Machkame Building - Conservation of the Southern Facade of the Machkema Building
 City of David - Conservation measures accompanying an excavation in the north of the City of David
 City of David - Conservation of the Shiloah Pool and preparing it for the public
 The Western Wall Tunnel - Conservation Report for 2005
 The Western Wall Tunnels, The Hasmonean Room - Conservation Treatment of the Hasmonean Room
 The Western Wall Tunnels, The Miqve’ot (ritual baths) - An excavation accompanied by conservation, conservation of the miqve’ot
 The Old City, Western Wall Tunnels - The Rabbi Getz Synagogue, Conservation and renewal
 The Western Wall Tunnels, The Secret Passage - Conservation and stabilization after excavation
 Zahal Square - Implementation of conservation measures
 The Old City - Conservation of the western ritual bath (miqve) in the Western Wall tunnel
 The Old City - Conserving the Engineers’ Tombs in the Jaffa Gate Plaza
 The Western Wall Tunnels, The Hasmonean Aqueduct - Conservation Measures for Removing Hazards
 The Western Wall Tunnels - Removing Hazards from the Hall with the Temple Mount Model
 The Old City - Conservation of the Church of St. Mary of the Knights (The German Church)
 The Western Wall - Hazard Removal
 Jerusalem - Maintaining Antiquities Sites in the Western Part of the City
 City of David - Conservation Maintenance
 The Wall Builders Garden - Conservation Measures
 Akeldama - The Conservation of a Crusader Burial Structure
 Ophel City Walls - Conservation of the Walls
 The Wall Builders Garden - Conservation and Development
 Mount Zion - Conservation Measures at David’s Tomb
 The Old City - A Plaster 'Pilot' Project in the Crusader Cardo
 The Ades Synagogue - Conservation of the Murals, 2013

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