Redrawing Jaffa Gate and Herod’s Jerusalem

Looking in Through Jaffa Gate

Thanks to findings at a recent dig near Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City, King Herod has lost his claim to being the original contractor of certain ancient structures in the area.

A manhole cover is inconspicuously embedded in the road leading into Jaffa Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. Every day, hundreds of drivers and pedestrians pass by this spot; one of the city’s busiest sites. But only a few realize that this is not really a manhole, leading into the bowels of the municipal sewerage system, but rather a “gateway” to a different kind of underground world – in fact, to one of the most dramatic archaeological sites in this part of the city.

The manhole cover was installed in the road to allow access to an ancient aqueduct located four meters below street level. The subterranean aqueduct and fortification wall discovered nearby were at first thought to be simply more evidence of the vast construction projects undertaken by King Herod the Great (74-4 B.C.E. ) during the Second Temple period. However, their excavation has revealed not only the precise dimensions of the structures, and who built them – but, more significantly, the fact that hundreds of archaeologists and researchers have been mistaken for the past 150 years about this site.

This may explain why two Antiquities Authority workers – archaeologist Dr. Ofer Sion, 49, and architect Shahar Puni, 38 – agreed to navigate between innumerable cockroaches, through a putrid tunnel, and why they broke out a celebratory bottle of wine when they finally solved the riddle of the ancient aqueduct…[See rest HERE]

HT: J. Lauer

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