Discovering a 2,000 year old stone building underground

The ancient structure consists of a courtyard and two stone chiseled rooms, storing some items to help reveal life in Jerusalem before 70.

The ancient structure consists of a courtyard and two stone chiseled rooms, storing some items to help reveal life in Jerusalem before 70.

The Israel Antiquities Agency (IAA) on May 19 announced the discovery of an ancient underground structure beneath the Beit Strauss building , near the Wailing Wall (Western Wall) in Jerusalem. The building consists of a yard and two rooms, divided into floors and connected by stairs. It was sealed about 1,400 years ago, during the Eastern Roman period.

Picture 1 of Discovering a 2,000 year old stone building underground
Dr. Barak Monnickendam-Givon stands under Beit Strauss building, Jerusalem. (Photo: IAA).

At the entrance of the stone structure, experts discovered dents used to install hinges and latches. On the wall are several small triangular niches to place oil lamps and long niches as shelves. The expert team also found a number of items such as clay pots, stone cups typical of the Second Temple period and qalal fragments. Qalal is a large stone basin used to store water, believed to be related to Jewish cleansing rituals.

Based on what was excavated, experts believe that underground works were used every day. It could help reveal life in Jerusalem before the Second Temple was destroyed in 70.

"This is a unique discovery. For the first time, we found an underground construction adjacent to the Wailing Wall," said experts Barak Monnickendam-Givon and Tehila Sadiel at the IAA.

"2,000 years ago in Jerusalem, it was normal to use stone for construction, just like it is today. The problem is why did the ancients invest their efforts and resources in digging such rooms in the bedrock. hard?" , Monnickendam-Givon and Sadiel ask questions. The team of experts is continuing to excavate and find out the purpose of this project.

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