Monolith of Silwan

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The tomb (the bungalow-like building), and surrounding area

The Monolith of Silwan, also known as the Tomb of Pharaoh's daughter is a cuboid rock-cut tomb located in Silwan, Jerusalem[1] dating from the period of the Kingdom of Judah; the latter name refers to a 19th-century hypothesis that the tomb was built by Solomon for his Egyptian wife.[2][3] The structure, a typical Israelite rock-cut tomb, was previously capped by a pyramid structure. It is one of the more complete and distinctive First Temple Period structures. The pyramidal, rock cap was cut into pieces and removed for quarry,[4] during the Roman era leaving a flat roof.[5] The tomb contains a single stone bench, indicating that it was designed for only one burial.[6] Recent research indicates that the bench was the base of a sarcophagus hewn into the original building.[7]

The Pharaoh's daughter tradition was first suggested by Louis Félicien de Saulcy,[4] who noted that the bible claims that Solomon built a temple for his Egyptian wife;[8] de Saulcy, excavating the site in the 19th century, suggested that this might be the same building.[4] However, subsequent archaeological investigation has dated the site to the 9th-7th Century BC,[6][9] making the connection to Solomon impossible.

Two letters of a Hebrew inscription survive on the building, the remainder of the inscription having been mutilated beyond recognition, by a hermit in the Byzantine era;[5] Byzantine monks increased the height of the low entrance by removing rock which contained the inscription in order to ease access to the tomb, in which they resided.[5] The tomb was cleaned following the 1967 Six-Day War. Neglected since Ussishkin's survey, trash disposal has in recent years has resulted in an unkempt, unattractive appearance.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The West Bank and East Jerusalem Searchable Map". USC Digital Library University of Southern California. Silwan. Retrieved 2013-10-28. 
  2. ^ Ussishkin, David. "Silwan, Jerusalem: The Survey of the Iron Age Necropolis". Tel Aviv University. [dead link]
  3. ^ Ussishkin, David (May 1970). "The Necropolis from the Time of the Kingdom of Judah at Silwan, Jerusalem". American Schools of Oriental Research. pp. 42–44. Retrieved 2013-10-28. 
  4. ^ a b c Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, The Holy Land, (2008), page 118
  5. ^ a b c Dave Winter, Israel handbook, page 174
  6. ^ a b Daniel Jacobs, Rough Guide to Jerusalem (1999), page 114
  7. ^ a b Barkay, Gabriel (January–February 2013). "Who Was Buried in the Tomb of Pharaoh's Daughter?". Biblical Archaeology Review 39 (1): 41–49. 
  8. ^ 1 Kings 3:1
  9. ^ Avigao, (1954)

Coordinates: 31°46′27″N 35°14′17″E / 31.77415°N 35.23811°E / 31.77415; 35.23811 (Monolith of Silwan (Tomb of Pharao's Daughter))