MembersThe Mystery of Jerusalem’s Ancient Cairns

Mysterious mounds first thought to be places of pagan worship now believed connected to Israel’s champions of faith

By David Lazarus | | Topics: archaeology
Photo: Wikicommons

Anyone who has spent time walking around the mountainous neighborhoods surrounding Jerusalem would notice the occasional peculiar mound popping seemingly out of nowhere.  

These rocky knolls are known as cairns. Many are ancient burial plots, and the larger ones are archeological tels. But in one of Jerusalem’s wealthier neighborhoods, there is a mysterious mound that rises out of the ground to 8 meters high (26 ft.) and 40 meters (131 ft.) around. 

Back in the 19th century, British explorer Charles Drake noticed the unnatural knoll rising out of the ground in what is now the Givat Massua neighborhood on the south-west side of Jerusalem, marked in on a map, but left without a clue as to what it could mean. In 1923, famed archeologist William Albright dug briefly into the strange swell and determined that it was from the Bronze Age, or more to the point, before the reign of King David (1200 BC). 

Eventually, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) took interest and began removing the grass, rocks, dirt and dust...

Israel Today Membership

Become a Member

  • Read all member content

    Get exclusive in-depth reports from Israel.

  • Get exclusive in-depth reports from Israel

    Connect with Israel, right from your home.

  • Lift up the voice of truth and hope

    Support Jerusalem-based Zionist journalism.

Already a member? .