Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fascinating new discovery in Ir David

A Guest Post by Lurker.

The excavators in Ir David have uncovered a Roman mansion that was destroyed by the massive earthquake that hit Jerusalem in 363 CE. The JPOST reports:
A "magnificent" two-story Roman mansion of more than 1,000 square meters has been discovered by archeologists in the City of David Archeological Park outside the capital's Old City, the Antiquities Authority announced on Monday.

Previously, archeologist believed 3rd century Roman ruins extended only to the edge of the Ottoman Old City walls. The discovery of the mansion within the Givati parking lot, outside the walls and adjacent to the City of David, however, suggests Roman construction may have stretched to the bottom of the Silwan Valley, Dr. Doron Ben-Ami, the excavation's director, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

"This discovery was very surprising," Ben-Ami said. "We didn't expect to find any Roman building remains within the City of David. We were astonished at how huge the structure is. So far we uncovered 1,000 square meters and the structure still extends beyond the limits of the excavation area."

The find has already revolutionized historians' understanding of Roman settlement in Jerusalem, he said.

"The prevailing supposition among scholars that the City of David hill remained outside the area of Roman settlement at the time of Aelia Capitolina is no longer valid," said Ben-Ami.

The opulence of the building is apparent in its size and in artifacts recovered throughout the structures, the Antiquities Authority said in a statement.

"In the center of it was a large open courtyard surrounded by columns," reads the statement. "The building rose to a height of two stories and was covered with tile roofs... Excavators deduced that some of the walls of the rooms were treated with plaster and decorated with colorful paintings."

Also found within the structure were a marble figurine in the image of a boxer and a gold earring inlaid with precious stones.

The building most likely met its end during a massive earthquake that shook Jerusalem in 363 CE, Ben-Ami said.

This was the earthquake that marked the end of the Roman-sponsored plans to build the Third Temple, and which was apparently responsible for the institution of the fast day that we now know as Lag B'Omer.


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just saw a very similar post on Dov Bear!

Anonymous said...

Looks to me like DovBear ripped off Lurker's post.

DovBear Weasel lives?

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