VIDEO: 2000-Year-Old Jerusalem's Main Street Sheds New Light on the City's Last Hours

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 |  Tsvi Sadan

Jerusalem Day has prompted Israel Antiquities Authority to release more information on the excavations of the City of David. The following is an excerpt of IAA report, and video on the latest underground finding from the City of David, unveiling the last hours of Jerusalem as it fell into the hands of the Romans.

"Arrowheads and stone ballista balls were discovered on the main street that ascended from the city’s gates and the Pool of Siloam to the Temple, which was excavated in recent years. These finds tell the story of the last battle between the Roman forces and the Jewish rebels who had barricaded themselves in the city … This battle is described by the historian Flavius Josephus: 'On the following day the Romans, having routed the brigands from the town, set the whole on fire as far as Siloam" (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 6:363)'."

"According to Nahshon Szanton and Moran Hagbi, the directors of the excavation on the stepped-street on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, 'Josephus’ descriptions of the battle in the lower city come face-to-face for the first time with evidence that was revealed in the field in a clear and chilling manner. Stone ballista balls fired by catapults used to bombard Jerusalem during the Roman siege of the city, were discovered in the excavations. Arrowheads, used by the Jewish rebels in the hard-fought battles against the Roman legionnaires were found exactly as described by Josephus'."

"So far, a section of the road, 100 m long and 7.5 m wide, paved with large stone slabs as was customary in monumental construction throughout the Roman Empire, has been exposed in the excavations. The archeological excavations on the street utilize a combination of advanced and pioneering research methods, the results of which so far strengthen the understanding that Herod the Great was not solely responsible for the large construction projects of Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period. Recent research indicates that the street was built after Herod’s reign, under the auspices of the Roman procurators of Jerusalem, and perhaps even during the tenure of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, who is also known for having sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion."

"According to the exacvation's directors, Szanton and Hagbi, 'this conclusion in fact sheds new light on the history of Jerusalem in the late Second Temple Period, and reinforces recognition of the importance of the Roman procurators’ rule in shaping the character of Jerusalem'."

"According to Dr. Yuval Baruch, the Jerusalem region archaeologist for the Israel Antiquities Authority, 'we intend to uncover the entire length and width of the street within five years. When the excavations are completed, the remains of the street will be conserved and developed and made ready to receive the tens of thousands of visitors who will walk along it'."

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