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Impressive Second Temple edifice uncovered in the City of David, Jerusalem

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Rebekkah
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« on: March 14, 2008, 11:24:40 pm »

Impressive Second Temple edifice uncovered in the City of David, Jerusalem
 
5 Dec 2007
The Israel Antiquities Authority has uncovered an impressive Second Temple edifice in the City of David in Jerusalem, probably belonging to the family of Queen Helena of Adiabene.

     
 
   Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority
 
 (Communicated by the Israel Antiquities Authority)

In excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting in the walls around Jerusalem National Park, in the City of David parking facility, an impressive and spacious edifice that dates to the end of the Second Temple period was exposed. According to the writings of Josephus, the building that was uncovered was probably erected by the Hadyab family, the most notable member of which is Queen Helena of Adiabene, who converted to Judaism, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and was buried there.

In the excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is carrying out, together with the Nature and Parks Authority and the Ir David Foundation, an impressive architectural complex is being uncovered that includes massive foundations; walls, some of which are preserved to a height in excess of five meters and built of stones that weigh hundreds of kilograms; halls rising to a height of  two stories or more; a basement level covered with vaults; remains of polychrome frescoes; water systems and ritual baths (miqve'ot).   

Evidence of the drama which transpired within it, prior to its destruction by the Romans in the year 70 CE, can be seen in the narrow openings that were discovered in the basement level through which its inhabitants attempted to flee. Much of the structure was intentionally demolished at that time: stones from the walls and ceilings of the upper stories were discovered lying together in the destruction layer that accumulated on the floor of the basement. Among the finds recovered are pottery and stone vessels and coins that date to the end of the Second Temple period.

 
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Rebekkah
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2008, 11:26:21 pm »



Seventy-two coins were uncovered in the contexts of the basement level of the structure. Of these 54 were identifiable. The latest coin dates to the end of the Jewish War against the Romans (69/70 CE). Shown in the photograph are nine Jewish War bronzes from the basement, representing all three years (67/68–69/70 CE) in which bronzes were minted in quantity during the war. The symbols on the coins are vine leaf and amphora (“year two” and “year three”) and two lulavs and ethrog (“year four”). Dr. Donald Tzvi Ariel, Numismatic Branch, Israel Antiquities Authority. (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority)

The exposure of the remains of such a spacious building raises the question regarding its function and identification. According to the excavation director, Dr. Doron Ben-Ami of the Israel Antiquities Authority, the structure, which is an anomaly in the landscape of the Lower City at the end of the Second Temple period, is probably connected to the buildings which the royal family of Adiabene erected there, according to the testimony of Josephus. Nonetheless, he notes, "this interpretation of the finds should not be accepted without due reservation and the hope that upon expanding the excavation in coming seasons we will discover finds that will aid in identifying the architectural complex."

The large edifice was overlain with remains that date to later periods: Byzantine, Roman and Early Islamic, while below it there are remains from the Early Hellenistic period and even artifacts from the time of the First Temple.

 http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/History/Early+History+-+Archaeology/Second+Temple+edifice+uncovered+in+City+of+David+Jerusalem+5-Dec-2007.htm
 
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