Bible Archaeology

Two Thousand Year Old Evidence of the Siege in Jerusalem

Some more Biblical Archaeology with which to starts the day (depending on where on earth you live). Far better than the other filth doing the rounds. In an archaeological excavation by the Israel Antiquities Authority near the Western Wall:


The Antiquities Authority on Thursday unearthed for the first time a small  2,000-yearold cistern near the Western Wall that connects an archeological find  with the famine that occurred during the Roman siege of Jerusalem during that  era.

The cistern – found near Robinson’s Arch in a drainage channel from  the Shiloah Pool in the City of David – contained three intact cooking pots and  a small ceramic oil lamp.

According to Eli Shukron, the excavations  director for the Antiquities Authority, the discovery is  unprecedented.

“The complete cooking pots and ceramic oil lamp indicate  that the people went down into the cistern where they secretly ate the food that  was contained in the pots, without anyone seeing them,” he said. “This is  consistent with the account provided by Josephus.”

In his book The Jewish  War that describes the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE, the Jewish scholar  Josephus detailed the resulting hunger that ensued.

In his account,  Josephus, also known as Yosef ben Matityahu, wrote of Jewish rebels who sought  food in the homes of other starving Jews confined to the city. Fearing these  rebels would steal their food, many Jews used cisterns to conceal their meager  provisions, and later ate in hidden places within their homes.

“As the  famine grew worse, the frenzy of the partisans increased with it,” Josephus  wrote.

“For as nowhere was there corn to be seen, men broke into the  houses and ransacked them,” he continued.

“If they found some, they  maltreated the occupants for saying there was none; if they did not, they  suspected them of having hidden it more carefully and tortured  them.”

Josephus recounted that many Jews suffering from starvation would  barter their possessions for small quantities of food in order to stay  alive.

“Many secretly exchanged their possessions for one measure of  corn-wheat if they happened to be rich; barley if they were poor,” he  wrote.

“They shut themselves up in the darkest corners of their houses,  where some, through extreme hunger, ate their grain as it was; others made  bread, necessity and fear being their only guides. Nowhere was a table  laid.”

The artifacts will be on display during a July 4 conference on the  City of David, organized by the Megalim Institute.

Earlier in the week,  the Antiquities Authority uncovered in Beit Hanina a well-preserved section of  an 1,800- year-old road leading from Jerusalem to Jaffa during a routine  excavation prior to the installation of a drainage pipe in the northern  Jerusalem neighborhood.



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