An ammunition stash left behind by Jordanian soldiers during the 1967 Six-Day War was exposed during excavations underneath the lobby of the Western Wall Tunnels.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation and Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologists were surprised to find 10 magazines for a Bern light machinegun full of bullets, two bayonets of a British Lee Enfield rifle, and other rifle parts.
The ammunition was hidden in the bottom of a British Mandate period water cistern.
Israeli police bomb-disposal experts came to the site to examine the findings.
The excavations in the area are being conducted to prepare for a new tour in addition to the existing Western Wall Tunnels tour.
Dr. Barak Monnickendam-Givon and Tehila Sadiel, directors of the excavation on behalf of the IAA, said that “usually, in excavations, we find ancient findings from one or two thousand years ago, but this time, we got a glimpse of the events that occurred 53 years ago, frozen in time in this water cistern.”
About a month ago, the archeologists published findings of an elaborate subterranean network hewn into bedrock from the Second Temple period that was uncovered at the foot of an impressive 1,400-year-old public structure.
The water cistern we excavated served the residential structures of the Moghrabi neighborhood that was built in the area of what is today the Western Wall Plaza.
The discovery of the ammunition stash for Bern light machine guns match two other guns that were found about a year and a half ago in a different water cistern in the Western Wall Plaza.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation stated Wednesday that “along with other glorious discoveries of our nation’s past from the Second Temple period, we are also happy about discovering findings from the war of this past generation to return the Jewish nation’s heart and be able to cling to the stones of the Western Wall.”
“This discovery is a privilege for us – to be able to acknowledge the miracles of the Creator of the Universe at this site,” the organization said.