New archaeological findings shed light on the last battle between Romans and Jews almost 2000 years ago.
The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and the Nature and Parks Authority unveiled 2000-year-old evidence of the last battle of Jerusalem on the eve of the destruction of the Second Temple.
The new findings were presented on Thursday in honor of Jerusalem Day and the jubilee celebrations commemorating the reunification of the city at the City of David National Park.
The archaeologists found arrowheads and stone ballista balls on the main street that ascended from the city’s gates and the Pool of Siloam to the Temple. These finds tell the story of the last battle between the Roman legions and the Jewish rebels, who barricaded themselves in the city. The battle resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem in the summer of 70 CE.
This battle was described by first century Romano-Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus. “On the following day the Romans, having routed the [Jewish] brigands from the town, set the whole on fire as far as Siloam.”
Nahshon Szanton and Moran Hagbi, the directors of the excavation on the stepped-street on behalf of the IAA, said that “Josephus’ descriptions of the battle in the lower city [of Jerusalem] 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,” they added.
So far, a section of the road some 100 meters long and 7.5 meters wide, paved with large stone slabs as was customary in monumental construction throughout the Roman Empire, was exposed in the excavations.
In recognizing the importance of the site, IAA researchers employed advanced cutting-edge research methods from the fields of natural science, biology and geology in their excavations. A combination of these advanced techniques makes the excavation exceptional in its scientific quality and importance in the development of archaeological research in Jerusalem and Israel in general, and enables researchers to address unexplored questions.
“It seems that it will not be long before it will be possible for the first time to walk along one of the main streets of ancient Jerusalem, to see how it looked, and receive answers to fascinating historical questions that have been asked for 100 years relating to the history of Jerusalem from the time of the Second Temple, at the height of its splendor, and from the moments of its destruction,” the IAA stated.
The IAA hopes to conclude the research and open the site to the public by 2022.
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News