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Burial (2007), 2007


Burial (2007) is a series of pictures showing ruins being ‘reburied’ under cement poured by trucks working on the infrastructure of the Jerusalem Light Rail which started in 2002. The ruins, uncovered during a rescue dig while putting the tracks of the light rail, are located in the main street of the Palestinian Arab neighborhood of Shua’fat in northeastern Jerusalem, bordering Pisgat Ze’ev and Beit Hanina. The ruins are remnants of a Roman Jewish settlement believed to be one of the first Jewish settlements in Jerusalem after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D. The area is said to have been inhabited since 2000 BC and is mentioned in the Book of Isaiah as Gebim, whose Jewish inhabitants fled the Assyrian army. In 1948, Shuafat was occupied by Jordan and in 1964 the UN built a refugee camp. After the Six-Day war, the town and the refugee camp was annexed by Israel and it became part of Jerusalem Municipal District.

I watched with a strange feeling the ruins covered with white fabric slowly being flooded with cement, as I photographed this underground city becoming once more an invisible city. ‘Burial’ was one of the earlier works in what would become the ‘Wounded Land Project.’ Later as I hanged the photographs opposite my bandaged maps in my studio, I wondered if this buried city had unconsciously echoed in me as I bandaged my Jerusalem Closure Maps two years later.


Ariane Littman