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Art. I.--1. The Recovery of Jerusalem : a Narrative of
Erploration and Discovery in the City and the Holy Land. By Captain Wilson, R.E., and Captain WARREN, R.E.,
etc. 1871. 2. Jerusalem, the City of Herod and Saladin. By WALTER
BESANT, M.A., and E. H. PALMER, M.A. 1871. 3. Our Work in Palestine : being an Account of the different
Expeditions sent out to the Holy Land by the Committee of
the Palestine Exploration Fund since 1865. London: 1873. To roll back the cloud of obscurity that has veiled, for
, eighteen centuries, the site of one of the most famous cities in the world, is a task not unworthy of the age. The labours of the men of the present time have given voice to the long silent hieroglyphics of Egypt; to the arrow-headed characters, cut in stone or impressed on clay tablets, by Persian and Assyrian scribes; and to the inscriptions of Phænician kings. Chapters of ancient history, long regarded as hopelessly lost, are in process of at least partial recovery. Few investigations are calculated to shed more light on the course and the causes of past events than the exploration of the deep-piled ruins of a city, of which the sages and rulers have influenced the course of human events more than the philosophers of Greece or the Emperors of Rome. It is, therefore, a fact in which Englishmen may take some degree of honest pride that, apart from any hope of gain or commercial impulse, funds have been raised by private subscription, adequate at least to commence, in a competent manner, the survey and exploration of Palestine.
The difficulties attendant on such an enterprise are neither VOL. CXXXVII. NO. CCLXXIX.
few nor small, and great credit is due to Mr. Grove with whom the scheme originated. It was no easy task to enlist a sufficient number of supporters to enable the projectors of the exploration to carry it thus far towards success. Five and twenty years ago Mr. Fergusson complained in bitter terms that it was impossible to excite for the topography and antiquities of the Holy Land a fraction of the interest and learning which were lavished on classical remains. At a much later period it would have been thought, and probably would have been, impossible to obtain permission from the Caliph for Franks to examine, or even to visit, the sacred sites most highly revered by the Moslem. It needed a royal pioneer to overthrow so formidable a barrier, and for much of our actual knowledge of the Noble Sanctuary,' we are indebted to the pilgrimage of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales. Even when, at the request of the British Embassy, a firman was issued to authorise the researches of Captain Warren, the permission to dig and • inspect places, after satisfying the owners,' was clogged with the almost fatal condition, with the exception of the Noble
Sanctuary, and the various Moslem and Christian shrines.' To overcome local prejudices, official disinclination, the fanaticism of sect, and the greediness of private individuals, has required a combination of courage, tact, and patience of no ordinary kind. The hostility shown by the Jew and by the Moslem to the active curiosity of the Christian, has been shared by some bearing the latter designation ; and persons who have associated themselves to augment what they call the evidences of Christianity, look askance at those more practical inquirers, who put tradition to the rude test of the spade.
The proper course for an explorer to follow in the case of Jerusalem, admits of no doubt. The first requisite was to determine the actual site and area of the city, at the time of its greatest magnitude and splendour, from the indications afforded by the foundations of its ancient walls. Much of the history, and approximate topography, of these walls is preserved in Jewish literature. Before the invention of gunpowder, it was not within the power of a conqueror to obliterate the foundations of megalithic masonry, or the rock-cut seats and scarps on which the ancient walls of Jerusalem were based. They might be buried, but not uprooted. Above all things, the commencement of the work was rendered easy by the existence of that unique mountain, which was girdled by Solomon with masonry elsewhere without a. parallel; the existence of a portion of which in situ was known to the most superficial observers. To trace the continuity of the
Temple enclosure, sinking, when necessary, to the rock foundation; then to follow the ancient course of the wall repaired by Nehemiah, and assaulted, and partly demolished, by Titus ; of the northern wall of Agrippa, which was altogether levelled in the Roman siege, and of the inner, and older, as well as less important wall, which was turned by Titus when he obtained possession of the courts of the Temple, should have been the first objects. Then should have followed the recovery of the plan of the Temple and its courts, based on a definite and intelligent search for the interior galleries with which the site is known to have been honey-combed. The identification of the sites of the palaces of Herod, of Monobazus, and of the Council ; of the Xystus, of the towers of Antonia, Hippicus, Phasaelus, and Mariamne; of the tombs of the dynasty of David, and perhaps of other monuments, would have followed. Thus the map would have been traced step by step; and each new discovery would have paved the way for those which were to follow.
In the absence of any such systematic plan, or of any attempt to arrange, co-ordinate, and bring clearly before the world the very important discoveries which have been actually made, the recovery of Jerusalem has not hitherto excited that general interest which is rightfully dụe to the subject. The facts successively ascertained, and published in a series of reports, bear chiefly on the question of the original structural unity of the great work of the Haram, as to which Captain Warren has not recognised the full importance of his very valuable discoveries ; on the rock levels in different places; and on the course of certain aqueducts. But the result of a very laborious exploration is not brought within the grasp of the reader.
• The Recovery of Jerusalem' is a collection of papers by nine different authors. Only about three-fifths of the volume have any direct reference to the city. The remainder treats of the chartography and archæology of Palestine, and of the Peninsula of Sinai. The earlier pages consist of reprints of the reports of Captain Warren on the excavations carried on by him at Jerusalem. As reports, sent in to a superior officer to describe the progress of the works, these papers are exactly what is desirable. Some of the discoveries hit upon are of primary importance, nor is their actual value diminished by the fact that their relations and real significance have escaped the appreciation of the explorers. But when the result of the work has to be ascertained and brought before the public, something of a more judicial character is required. Information that has been collected piece-meal, and of which the first idea is often materially modified by further investigation, requires digestion and systematic arrangement. Shots in the dark should be forgotten. Above all, the light of literary knowledge should be brought to bear on the results of engineering toil. It is evident that nothing of this kind can be attempted in a report. Captain Warren entered on the scene of his labours with certain views of the topography of ancient Jerusalem which were, one after another, modified and reversed by the results of the exploration. He has stated as much with perfect candour. But the reader must have a good general knowledge of the entire subject in order to understand this. He will feel perplexed by the opposite conclusions suggested by different portions of the reports. The public are not much interested in the process by which opinions are formed. They look for results, disposed in a definite, consistent, and attractive form. The material collected by Captain Warren is, we repeat, of primary value. But it comes before us, in this volume, as rough as when first extracted from the quarry. A more coherent account of the labours of the Exploration Fund has recently been given to the public in a very cheap and unpretending volume, entitled Our Work in Palestine. This work is evidently intended to diffuse in a popular form a knowledge of the discoveries which have been made, and to stimulate further contributions. It is highly meritorious as far as it goes; but it has no pretensions to resolve the question which these inquiries are calculated to raise.
It is thus evident that a more scientific examination of the numerous details now positively known, is a step which it is necessary to take. Among the points which we may fairly expect now to decide are the following: The unity, the design, and thus the original date, of the great wall of the • Noble Sanctuary :' the situation, level, and orientation of the Holy House and of the Great Altar: the size and form of the enclosing courts, known to the Jews by the name of the Sanctuary; and their relation to the existing scarped and arched platform surrounding the Dome of the Rock: the position and form of the Castle of Antonia: the identification of the sites of the three groups of gates, mentioned in the native literature, viz. the Gates of the City, those of the Mountain of the House, and those of the Sanctuary : the course of the three city walls, erected at three great building eras, 300 and 700 years apart, and the relation of the existing city wall to each of these, its predecessors: the import of