Israel: Second Temple main street discovered
By BRIAN BLONDY
‘After 2,000 years, these steps are not silent anymore': Main street
from Second Temple period uncovered in City of David.
A street recently uncovered in the City of David in Jerusalem was,
metaphorically, “the last seam of independent Jews in Jerusalem,”
according to Uri Goldflam of Shalhevet Education and Consulting.
The street connects the Jews who lost their Second Commonwealth
independence in 70 CE, and the Jewish people today, Goldflam said.“The
symbolism... After Jews hid beneath the stairs from the Romans, and now
as a free people, Jews can again walk above the street. After 2,000
years, the steps are not silent anymore.” The one-totwo- meter wide
section of a stepped street believed to be Jerusalem’s central
thoroughfare during the Second Temple period was uncovered at the
Shiloah Pool excavation in the City of David.
Located 550 meters south of the Temple Mount, the excavation is being
conducted under the auspices of Prof. Ronny Reich of the University of
Haifa and Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
“The [Jewish] pilgrims would begin the ascent to the [Second] Temple
from here. This is the southernmost tip of the road, of which a section
has already been discovered along the western face of the Temple
Mount,” Reich said in a statement.
The limited scope of the 40-meter long excavation is related to the
site’s proximity to land owned by the Greek Orthodox Church and, on the
other side, by the Wakf Muslim religious trust. Neither has granted
permission for additional excavation. Goldflam said the street was
“once the main artery of Jerusalem, where Jews, pagans, Romans and
Jewish-Christians, including Jesus, all walked on the narrow steps. It
is even believed that Jesus used the adjacent pools nearby to heal the
Along the street, “one can see the blocks that were removed to pry the
people from their hiding place to face death,” Goldflam said.
The stone-paved street was originally uncovered between 1894 and 1897
by Prof. Frederick Bliss and Archibald Dickey of the British Palestine
Exploration Fund, who recovered the area at the end of their
excavation. Other sections of the road have been previously excavated
and then covered over, including during digs in 1937 and from 1961 to
American archeologist Julia Iatesta attributes the multiple digs at the
site over the past 100 years to the intentions of “archeologists
managing to pull everything that they needed from the site (each
separate time) and re-covering the 2,000-year-old area so as not to
expose the site to weather or the public.” •