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Underground Chambers Discovered Near Jerusalem’s Western Wall-Pic

Posted By: RumorMail
Date: Monday, 25-May-2020 12:29:36
www.rumormill.news/147496

Carved into bedrock, the mysterious rooms spent 1,400 years hidden beneath the mosaic floor of a Byzantine building

By Alex Fox
smithsonianmag.com
May 21, 2020

Archaeologists have unearthed an ancient complex of underground chambers carved into the bedrock beneath Jerusalem’s Western Wall plaza, reports the Associated Press.

The mysterious subterranean rooms are located roughly 120 feet away from a site holy to both Jews and Muslims, who call it the Temple Mount and Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), respectively. Today, the compound is known best as the home of the Dome of the Rock, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Western Wall.

Per a statement from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, the newly discovered complex—consisting of a courtyard and two rooms—was hidden beneath the white mosaic floor of a large Byzantine-era building for roughly 1,400 years. Connected by carved staircases, the rooms are cut into the bedrock at differing depths.

Niches chipped into the structures’ walls likely served as shelves, storage spaces, door jambs and lantern holders, reports Amanda Borschel-Dan for the Times of Israel.

Artifacts found in the chambers allowed archaeologists to date the underground system to roughly 2,000 years ago

Speaking with Rossella Tercatin of the Jerusalem Post, Monnickendam-Givon notes that the underground network is located in what was, at the time of its construction, the city’s civic center.

“We think that the public street passed just a few meters from here, and we are standing next to what we archaeologists call the ‘big bridge’ that connected the upper city to the Temple itself,” the archaeologist adds.

Temple Mount’s religious significance has motivated a diverse array of civilizations—including the Jebusites, Israelites, Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, early Muslims, Crusaders, Mamluks, Ottomans and English—to conquer and occupy its 35 acres, wrote Joshua Hammer for Smithsonian magazine in 2011.

The newly unearthed structure is one of the few surviving remnants of ancient Jerusalem. In 70 A.D., Roman forces tasked with putting down the First Jewish Revolt “burned and devastated [the city], and all the Jewish people were exiled,” says Monnickendam-Givon to the Jerusalem Post. “A few decades later, the Romans started rebuilding it from scratch.”


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