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Archaeologists discover evidence of battle for Jerusalem 2,000 years ago

Shai Halevy | Courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority
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Jesus would have walked on this newly excavated road to the Temple Mount.

Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists announced that they have discovered evidence of the last battle between Roman forces and Jewish rebels which resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70.

According to the Israel Antiquities organization’s website, the research team discovered a collection of arrowheads and stone ballista balls on the main street that leads to the Temple.

The Siege of Jerusalem in 70 was the final event in the war between the Romans and the Jewish rebels, leading to the conquest and destruction of the city. Jews barricaded themselves within the city starting in the year 66 until their defeat by the Roman army lead by the future Emperor Titus.

The historian Flavius Josephus describes this battle in his 1st-century work, Wars:

On the following day the Romans, having routed the brigands from the town, set the whole on fire as far as Siloam.

The excavation also unearthed a road running from the city’s gates and the Pool of Siloam to the Temple, where Jesus would have certainly walked. Archaeologists report that the road was built after the days of Herod, possibly under the auspices of the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, also known for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

The section of the road that has been exposed is 100 meters long by 7.5 meters wide, and paved with large stone slabs as was customary with construction throughout the Roman Empire.

Dr. Yuval Baruch, archaeologist at the site, reports that the team is working to expose the street’s edges and the shops surrounding it. This work will enable researchers to ask questions that will shed light on what life was like in Jerusalem at around the time when the Second Temple was destroyed:

What did the main road leading to the Temple look like?

What was the urban character of the city along the main road?

What did they eat in Jerusalem during the siege in which Jewish rebels barricaded themselves within the city gates?

Archaeologists hope to complete their research within five years, preserve the remains of the street and open it to visitors.

 

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