(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) In the midst of Hanukkah, which celebrates the Jewish Hasmonean dynasty’s military victory over Antiochus’s Syrian Greek army, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of a unique structure from the Hasmonean period in archeological digs carried out adjacent to the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.
The structure’s broad walls, which measure more than a meter in width, are built from roughly hewn limestone blocks that are lain in a fashion characteristic of the Hasmonean period. Many pieces of pottery were also discovered inside the structure, which reaches a height of about 13 feet and covers an area of roughly 690 square feet. Coins found inside the structure indicate that it was built at the beginning of the second century B.C.E. and was used well into the Hasmonean period (140 B.C.E. to 37 B.C.E.).
Dr. Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, directors of the excavation for the Israel Antiquities Authority, said, “The importance of this discovery is in the strikingly few Hasmonean city buildings present in Jerusalem’s archaeological research, despite the many excavations conducted until now.”