This and That

Random bits of my life

Ancient Tombs on My Way to Work

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 4, 2011

Tomb, Doris Weiler Park

I have no excuse for not posting more often. I just get lazy or caught up in other things, which is a pity because Jerusalem is one of the most interesting places in the world to photograph.

Yesterday my husband mentioned that he’d been trying new routes through the Ramat Eshkol neighbourhood on his way to work and found an ancient tomb that he hadn’t seen before, in the Doris Weiler park Meshulam Garden. The whole area was once a sprawling necropolis in the time of the Second Temple (roughly contemporaneous with the rise of Christianity). Since deserted parks aren’t the safest place for a woman alone, he offered to go with me. Afterwards I showed him the tomb in the Sanhedrin park near Golda Meir Blvd.

The photo above is part of the carved arch above the entrance. Below is the facade of the tomb. This is the well-known Eshkolot tomb, named after the grape clusters (eshkolot) on either side of the medallion in the gable. The tomb was discovered in the 1970s when the foundations of surrounding apartment buildings were being dug.

Tomb, Doris Weiler Park

Interior of the tomb, shot with a flash. There are several inner chambers for ossuaries (long gone) and a crude line drawing of pillar capitals in the corner.

Tomb, Doris Weiler Park

Carving on the entrance of the tomb:

Tomb, Doris Weiler Park

Tomb, Doris Weiler Park

Tomb, Doris Weiler Park

The tomb below is in the Sanhedrin park. It has a splendidly decorated facade with acanthus leaves, an urn, and architectonic elements. Since we were in a rush to get to work I only took this photograph.

Tomb, Sanhedrin Park

Both tombs would have belonged to wealthy Jewish families of the Second Temple period (530 BCE to 70 CE). Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to identify the original owners if the ossuaries have been removed because they are usually the only sources of inscriptions.

6 Responses to “Ancient Tombs on My Way to Work”

  1. so very interesting. glad to see you posting again. i was just saying to a lace friend the other day that you haven’t posted in a while and that i hoped all was well.

  2. Love this

  3. This is so exciting! I live in the suburbs of Kansas City, Kansas, and we don’t have ANYTHING that we can call “ancient” around here… so it is really cool hearing about this and your experiences! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Don Binder said

    Hi Avital,

    I spent about two hours today trying to find the Eshkolot tomb since I am doing some research for a published essay on ancient Jewish iconography–but to no avail. On Google maps, what was listed as “Doris Willer Garden” was no more than a bunch of buildings of various sort. I walked around down to a bike path below (Scopus park, I think) and did see some tombs in one spot, but not this one.

    Could you send me more specific directions in that area (I’m living near Gilo and know how to get to Ramot Eshkol).



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