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Life on the Farm in Late Medieval Jerusalem

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Studies of Jerusalem in the post-classical periods have traditionally centered, unsurprisingly, on the Old City, isolating it from the regional setting in which it operated on a daily basis. The agricultural hinterland of Jerusalem – comprising a network of smaller settlements, agricultural terraces, fields, cisterns, watch towers, and local marketplaces that together fed the city – have not been a focus of archaeological research until very recently.

Life on the Farm in Late Medieval Jerusalem offers a rare glimpse into the daily life of a single rural household and its intimate, but ever-evolving, relationship with Jerusalem from the 14th through the early 20th centuries. It does so through a tightly integrated, multi-disciplinary study of one astonishingly well-preserved farmstead in its agricultural setting, how both settlement and farmland developed together over time, and how these changes impacted the socio-economic development of Jerusalem during the Mamluk and Ottoman Sultanates. The life history of this place is thus written on the basis of archaeological, botanical, and geological data, all interpreted against a rich textual record of land sales, field development, conflict, and cooperation.

Published: Mar 1, 2025


Section Chapter Authors
Chapter 1
On Farmsteads and Terraced Fields: The Origins of the Medieval Jerusalem Hinterland Project Bethany Walker
Chapter 2
Peasant Decision-Making in the Jerusalem Highlands: A Landscape Perspective Yuval Gadot, Gideon Avni
Chapter 3
The Earliest Settlement on Telegraph Hill Benjamin Dolinka, Nicolo Pini, Zubair Adawi
Chapter 4
Remnants of a “Feudal” Past The Mamluk Estate Benjamin Dolinka, Nicolo Pini, Bethany Walker, Benyamin Storchan
Chapter 5
The Making of a Family Farmstead: Emergence and Demise of the Ottoman ʿEzbeh Bethany Walker, Benjamin Dolinka, Nicolo Pini, Roy Marom, Benyamin Storchan
Chapter 6
Jerusalem’s Farmland Transformed: The Expansion of Agricultural Terracing Omer Ze'evi Berger, Nitsan Ben-Melech
Chapter 7
Land Use and Foodways Sofia Laparidouo, Annette Hansen, Chiara Corbino, Georgia Kasapidou
Chapter 8
Market Gardening in Medieval Jerusalem Bethany Walker
Chapter 9
What Makes a Village?: Social Networks and Resilience Bethany Walker
1. Full Site Plan Nicolo Pini
2. Plan of North Building of the Northern Sector Nicolo Pini
3. Plan of Stratum III (pre-Mamluk) Nicolo Pini
4. Plan of Stratum II (Mamluk) Nicolo Pini
5. Plan of Stratum Ib (Early Ottoman) Nicolo Pini
6. Plan of Stratum Ia (Late Ottoman/Mandate) Nicolo Pini
7. Summaries of representative entries on Beit Mazmil in the Jerusalem sijills Ahmad al-Ghizawat
8. Chart of radiocarbon and OSL dates Cologne AMS
9. List of critical loci Bethany Walker
10. Sketchfab – access to the three-dimensional models and instruction for use Nicolo Pini