Monday, August 31, 2015

They Found A Podium?

I received this notice:

A unique stepped structure exposed on the street ascending from the Siloam Pool to the Temple Mount raises questions among researchers at the Israel Antiquities Authority
An intriguing find consisting of an impressive pyramid-shaped staircase constructed of large ashlar stones was uncovered in an archaeological excavation currently conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority. The excavation is located in the Jerusalem Walls National Park in the City of David, site of ancient Jerusalem...It was constructed sometime in the fourth decade of the first century CE, and was one of the largest construction projects undertaken in Jerusalem during the Second Temple period. Dozens of whole pottery vessels, stone vessels and glassware were found at the foot of the pyramid-shaped staircase.

According to archaeologists Nahshon Szanton and Dr. Joe Uziel, who direct of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "The structure exposed is unique. To date such a structure has yet to be found along the stepped street in the numerous excavations that have taken place in Jerusalem and to the best of our knowledge outside of it. For this reason, its exact use remains enigmatic. The structure is built along the street in a place that is clearly visible from afar by passers-by making their way to the Temple. We believe the structure was a kind of monumental podium that attracted the public’s attention when walking on the city’s main street...

We know from rabbinic sources there were “stones” that were used for public purposes during the Second Temple period. For example, one source cites the “auction block” in connection with the street: “[a master] will not set up a market stand and put them (slaves) on the auction block” (Sifra, BeHar 6). In the Mishnah and Talmud the “Stone of Claims” is mentioned as a place that existed in Jerusalem during the Second Temple period

Coin from the period of the Great Revolt against the Romans, discovered in the destruction layer atop the street from the Second Temple period. 
Photos: Carla Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

On Thursday (3.9), at the City of David Studies of Ancient Jerusalem’s 16th Annual Conference that will be open to the public, Nahshon Szanton and Dr. Joe Uziel will present their findings


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