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Strange findings in the Holy Land: The fortress of Acra was buried under a parking lot


Israel Antiquities Authority | CC BY-SA 3.0

Daniel Esparza - published on 09/15/17

An archaeological mission is believed to have found the fortress of Antiochus Epiphanes, besieged by the Maccabees.

One of the obsessions of the hundreds of archaeologists specializing in the ruins of the Holy Land seems to have come to light: a series of warlike objects discovered two years ago offers evidence that allowed a mission of the Israeli Antiquities Authority to claim they have finally located the ancient fortress of Acra, in which some of the fiercest clashes of the Maccabean revolt took place.

The fortress of Acra, built by Antiochus Epiphanes to control Jerusalem after plundering it in 168 BC, ended up taken and destroyed by Simon Maccabeus after a long siege.

Although many archaeologists have speculated about the location of this fortress, no mission was able to find its exact location until January 8, 2015, when Doron Ben-Ami, Yana Tchekhanovets and Salom Cohen, the directors of the excavation, found some coins — coined in times of Antiochus — in an embankment that gave signs of having housed a military building.

Mysteries hidden under a parking lot

The excavation work unearthed an architectural complex 228 meters long and 36 meters wide, beneath the Givati ​​parking lot in the City of David, Jerusalem.

This finding will allow, for the first time, the reconstruction of the urban design of Jerusalem exactly as it was before the Maccabean rebellion, which was impossible to do before now.


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