The Millo is part of the City of David. It is the rampart built by the Jebusites before David conquered the city. The Millo consists of the terraces and retaining walls on the eastern slope of the southeastern spur that supported the buildings above. The Millo is the Stepped Stone Structure uncovered by Kathleen Kenyon. Eilat Mazar has uncovered the Large Stone Structure (David’s Palace) that sat on the Millo.
The Stepped Stone Structure at what is believed to be the location of the Jebusite Wall. This photo includes
1) a glacis, a steep sloped wall for protection, which is called the Millo in 2 Samuel 5:9 from 1100-1000 BC
2) remains of residences from 1200 BC
3) retaining walls from 1200 BC
4) rooms used from 700-586 BC
5) walls built by Nehemiah.
Diagram detailing the Stepped Stone Structure
A massive stepped podium for the Canaanite-Jebusite palace/fortress that was also used as David’s palace. Eilat Mazar dates the building of this structure from the period of 1200-1000 BC. This Stepped Stone Structure was the work of the Jebusites during the days of the Judges, and the work of David around 1000 BC.
The House of Ahiel. This four-room house was built into and over the Millo around 650 BC in the days of young Josiah and Jeremiah. The staircase to the left (seen in photos below) would have provided access to the home’s flat roof. A stone with a hole in it was found in a corner of the small room. This stone is the toilet seat that sat over a cesspit about 6.5 feet deep.
A view looking down at the sloped wall built by the Jebusites and reinforced by David, which served as a protective wall (glacis) but also as a terraced support system called the Millo in scripture. The straight wall with the right-angled corner in the background is from the days of Nehemiah. The remains between the Jebusite wall and Nehemiah’s wall are the ruins of the ribs of retaining walls from the 1200s BC designed to hold fill. Just in front of them is the beginning of rooms dating from 700-586 BC.
Details of the House of Ahiel: The four columns would have supported a flat roof. The staircase would have provided access to the flat roof. Notice the square box in the small room on the lower right—this is the bathroom. The toilet seat, or the box, can be seen in photos below.
This structure is called the House of Ahiel because two pieces of pottery (ostraca) were found with his name on it when this home was excavated. (Photo from 2010 with both back pillars standing.)
The stairs to access the roof of the House of Ahiel can be seen on the left in this photo. (Photo from 2007, with the back right pillar leaning in the corner.)
This toilet seat sat in the corner of the small room in the House of Ahiel. This would have provided the fourroom home with a bathroom.
Between the lowest part of the stepped stone structure and the outer wall of the city, ancient citizens built several stepped terraces to support and provide a platform for the buildings above.
One of the terraces excavated was 40 feet wide and 88 feet long. In two upper terraces three separate structures were identified:
The Stepped-Stone Structure with the house of Ahiel cut into it and the toilet seat. The Burnt Room is to the right of the toilet. Evidence of the Babylonian fire of 586 BC and the charred remains of imported wood, a roof beam, pottery, stone vessels and a metal spoon from that time were found here.
This is a view of the deep drop down into the Kidron Valley from the base of the Stepped Stone Structure. Imagine David and Joab looking up at the Jebusites who were on top of the Stepped Stone Structure and understanding what they meant when they said, “You will never get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off” (2 Samuel 5:6). With this sort of natural and constructed defensive system, it’s no wonder they said what they did. David ordered Joab to use the water system from the Gihon Springs further down this ridge to enter the city.