Sunday, November 18, 2007

ROMAN STREET UNCOVERED IN JERUSALEM

The remains of an ancient terraced street dating back to the Roman Period, 2,000 years ago, have been uncovered in the Western Wall tunnels, the Israel Antiquities Authority recently announced.

The site, which was uncovered in archeological excavations over the past year, is a side street connecting two major roads in the area, said Jon Seligman, the Antiquities Authority Jerusalem regional archeologist.

The ancient street is paved with large flagstones and is amazingly well-preserved. It is demarcated on both sides by walls built of ashlar stones. In 2000, when I visited Jerusalem, we were shown another Roman street outside the tunnels that must have been part of this roadway.

The recent finding is the latest indication that even after they destroyed the Second Temple in 70 CE, the Romans continued to value the Temple Mount as one of the main urban focal points of activity in the city. Various artifacts were discovered in the excavations, including pottery, glass vessels and dozens of coins that all date to the construction of the street and the period after it was abandoned.

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