Evidence of the Last Battle of Jerusalem from 2,000 years ago that occurred on the eve of the destruction of the second Temple, has been revealed by the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Nature and Parks Authority on the occasion of Jerusalem day jubilee celebrations marking the reunification of the city.
Excavations funded by the “City of David” association (ELAD) were conducted near the gates of the city and in the Siloam Pool vicinity, revealed arrow heads and catapult stones telling the story of the battle between the Jewish rebels and the Romans which ended in the destruction of Jerusalem. This destruction was described by the historian Josephus Flavius “The next day the Romans defeated the bandits from the lower city and set everything on fire up to Siloam”.
According to Nachshon Zanton and Moran Hajabi the excavation directors of the Antiquities Authority, “Josephus’ accounts of the battle in the lower city are fleshed out by the evidence that was revealed in the area in a clear and chilling manner” The excavation revealed stones fired by catapults that shelled Jerusalem during the Roman siege of the city. Arrowheads were also found that were used by the Jewish rebels in the fierce battles against the Roman legions just as Josephus described.
Up to now a section of the road 100 m long and 7.5 m wide has been exposed.in the excavations. It is paved with large stone slabs which were customary throughout the Roman Empire. The intention is to start exposing the entire length and width of the street to bring to completion the excavation of this unique site. On completion of the excavations the remains of the street will be preserved and prepared in order to accommodate the thousands of visitors who will walk along it.
ballista_stone, uncovered street - Photos: Shai Halevi, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
Stones_arrowhewd: Photo: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.