The Burnt House in the Old City of Jerusalem

Avigad would be pleased! Yesterday we received Vols. IV and V of the final reports of the Jewish Quarter Excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem, Conducted by Nahman Avigad 1969-1982. The first four volumes were edited by Hillel Geva and the fifth by Oren Gutfield. More volumes are in preparation.

This web page contains descriptions and downloadable PDF flyers, with pictures of the book covers, contents and order forms.

It was a mammoth task to prepare these volumes and Hillel and Oren are to be commended for their dedication and hard work to publish the results of these unique excavations. I can’t resist sharing these newspaper reports of when the Burnt House was first discovered and that were reproduced in Volume IV.

The Jerusalem Post, 16 Jan. 1970


Jerusalem Post, 23 January 1970

I remember Avigad telling me that during the excavation of the Burnt House, people were standing 4-deep around the area  being dug, especially after the finding of a girl’s skeletal arm, the nation of Israel was so electrified.

After working on the Temple Mount Excavations, I began working on the Jewish Quarter Excavations, beginning in 1978. It was a very memorable privilege to have been able to draw up most of the plans for the Burnt House and other areas which were excavated in the quarter, which had been severely damaged by the Jordanians. Working for Avigad wasn’t restricted to my architectural contributions. When the Burnt House was eventually opened to the public, I was honored, to be the only one, with Kathleen, to be entrusted with the care of cleaning the glass display cases of the precious finds from the site. On a number of evenings we had to get a baby sitter for our children so we could drive over the cobble stones of the Jewish Quarter and take our vacuum cleaner and dusters into the eerily silent Burnt House.

Eventually, I made this reconstruction drawing of Burnt House:

Reconstruction drawing of the Burnt House. Leen Ritmeyer

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