For all of the anti-Semites who doubt the Jewish claim to Jerusalem, here’s some more evidence to show them that they are colossally wrong. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and Nature and Parks Authority has announced that they have discovered arrowheads and stone ballista telling the story of the last battle between Roman forces and the Jews fighting against them in the last fight before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
The same battle was described by the historian Flavius Josephus thus: “On the following day the Romans, having routed the brigands from the town, set the whole fire as far as Siloam.”
Nahshon Szanton and Moran Hagbi, the directors of the excavation on the stepped-street on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, explained:
Josephus’ descriptions of the battle in the lower city come face-to-face for the first time with evidence that was revealed in the field in a clear and chilling manner. Stone ballista balls that were fired by catapults used to bombard Jerusalem during the Roman siege of the city were discovered in the excavations. Arrowheads were also found that were used by the Jewish rebels in the hard-fought battles against the Roman legionnaires, exactly as described by Josephus. So far, a section of the road c. 100 m long and 7.5 m wide, paved with large stone slabs as was customary in monumental construction throughout the Roman Empire, has been exposed in the excavations. The archeological excavations on the street utilize a combination of advanced and pioneering research methods, the results of which so far strengthen the understanding that Herod the Great was not solely responsible for the large construction projects of Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period. Recent research indicates that the street was built after Herod’s reign, under the auspices of the Roman procurators of Jerusalem
They add, “This conclusion in fact sheds new light on the history of Jerusalem in the late Second Temple Period, and reinforces recognition of the importance of the Roman procurators’ rule in shaping the character of Jerusalem.”
The IAA writes:
Finds revealed in the excavations will allow researchers to answer such intriguing questions as: What did the main street that led to the Temple look like? What was the urban nature of the Lower City that extended on either side of the magnificent road? What did they eat in Jerusalem during the difficult siege, etc.? In order to answer these questions, a multidisciplinary study is being conducted, as well as careful wet sifting at the sifting site in the Valley of Tzurim National Park, where even the smallest finds are collected. It seems that it will not be long before it will be possible for the first time to walk along one of the main streets of ancient Jerusalem, to see how it looked, and receive answers to fascinating historical questions that have been asked for 100 years which are related to the history of Jerusalem from the time of the Second Temple, at the height of its splendor, and from the moments of its destruction.
Here are some notes on the pictures:
1. A section of the stepped-street dating to the Second Temple period. Photo: Shai Halevy, courtesy of Israel Antiquities Authority.
2. Nahshon Szanton, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, next to the street. Photo: Shai Halevy, courtesy of Israel Antiquities Authority.
3–4. The ballista stones that were exposed in the archaeological excavation are evidence of the battle of Jerusalem that was fought 2,000 years ago. Photo: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
5. A Scytho-Iranian arrowhead. Photo: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
6. Arrowheads that were discovered in the excavation. Photo: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
7. Nahshon Szanton holding a ballista stone that was apparently catapulted during the siege of the city. Photo: Shai Halevy, courtesy of Israel Antiquities Authority.
8. Buildings (perhaps shops) that were exposed alongside the stepped-street. Photo: Shai Halevy, courtesy of Israel Antiquities Authority.
9. Nahshon Szanton holding a date-shaped glass juglet that was uncovered in the excavations of the street. Photo: Shai Halevy, courtesy of Israel Antiquities Authority.
10. An oil lamp from the Early Roman period that was revealed in a niche in the drainage channel beneath the stepped-street. The lamp was presumably used by a person who hid there from the Romans during the revolt. Photographer: Shai Halevy, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
11. Hebrew video. Photographic credit: EYECON, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
12. Video (with English subtitles). Photographic credit: EYECON, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.