How the Maccabees Reshaped Jerusalem (Jewish Journal)
by Bill Gladstone, Jewish Telegraphic Agency
�The problem is that Herod the Great built so thoroughly that many remains of the Maccabeans have almost disappeared,� said Dan Bahat, a senior lecturer at Bar-Ilan University who is spending the academic year lecturing at St. Michael�s College at the University of Toronto.
The Maccabeans, who founded the Hasmonean dynasty, likely inspired King Herod�s vision of the Temple, said Bahat, whose specialty is Jerusalem of the Second Temple period.
In recent years, the former chief archaeologist of Jerusalem has supervised the excavations of the Western Wall tunnel, the ancient subterranean passage that extends along the western perimeter of the Temple Mount.
A large water channel that was discovered in the tunnel has been accepted by many archaeologists as a Maccabean-built aqueduct and, according to Bahat, almost certainly is the most visible Maccabean relic in the Old City.
�This is the most important remain of Hasmonean Jerusalem today,� he said. �It�s an enormous ditch that was excavated from the surface in order to supply water to the fortress named Baris, which was the seat of the Maccabean family before they moved to a place in the area of today�s Jewish Quarter.�
The apocryphal Book of the Maccabees offers ample evidence that the legendary leaders of the Jewish revolt against the Greeks were great builders. As further evidence, Bahat cites the fine mosaics and frescoes excavated in various Maccabean palaces in Jericho.
Saturday, December 04, 2004
THE MACABEES AND JERUSALEM: More seasonal theories, but based on serious archaeology in this case.