Remains of Jerusalem's third wall and Roman army siege weapons unearthed

For the Israel Antiquities Authorities, these unearthed remains are "a fascinating testimony to the intensive bombardment of the Roman army led by Titus, on the way to the conquest of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Second Temple".

Dirrefutable evidence of the existence of the third surrounding wall of Jerusalem during the destruction of the second temple in 70, under the leadership of Emperor Titus, has been brought to light and studied. The Antiquities Authority declared Thursday, October 20 that the remains were discovered last winter in the city center, on the construction site of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design.

During the legally mandated excavation that preceded the start of construction, archaeologists discovered the remains of a tower protruding from the ancient wall, which could shed light on the borders of Jerusalem before the Roman-led attack. by Titus.

In front of the west facade of the tower, dozens of siege weapons have also been excavated. Archaeologists have found ancient ballistae and stones that the Romans fired with their catapults at Jewish guards stationed on the tower to defend Jerusalem.

According to Drs Rina Avner and Kfir Arbib, the directors of the excavations commissioned by the Jerusalem Antiquities Authority, the findings shed a unique light on the violence of the attack on Jerusalem by the Roman armies of Titus.

“The bombardment was aimed at attacking the guards and providing cover for the Roman forces, so that they could approach the wall with rams, and thus violate the city's defenses. "

The historian Flavius ​​Josephus, witness of this war, evokes on several occasions and in detail, the third wall of the city. He explains that the wall was designed to protect the capital's new quarter, known as Beit-Zeita. This construction initiated by Agrippa I had been suspended to calm the anger of Emperor Claudius. It had been taken over 20 years later by the defenders of Jerusalem, in anticipation of the great revolt against Rome. In his writings, the historian traces the precise contours of this wall, the layout of which can be traced on the current districts.

The results of these excavations will be presented at a conference entitled “New Studies in the Archeology of Jerusalem and its Region”, which will be held on October 27 at the Mount Scopus campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


source: The Jerusalem Post

Wikipedia illustration: Destruction of the Second temple seen by Francesco Hayez 

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