Jerusalem ancient walls unveiledUPDATE: More details in the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release. Excerpt:
Archaeologists in Jerusalem have given a first glimpse of what they say is a newly-exposed section of the city walls built 2,100 years ago.
They say the mortarless stone structure is the best preserved section of the city's walls ever seen from the period of the Second Jewish Temple.
The construction dates from the period of the Second Temple - the 2nd Century BC until the temple's destruction by the Romans in the year 70.
The researchers believe the walls show the ancient city's boundaries when it was at its largest, with a circumference of 6km, compared to the 4km of walling surrounding what is now the Old City.
The Fortifications of the Second Temple Period
South of the line of fortifications from the Byzantine period and at a depth of approximately 4 meters below the elevation of its base, a tower that is preserved to a height of 3.20 meters was exposed which dates to the time of the Hasmonean Dynasty (the Second Temple period). The tower was built on the bedrock which was straightened and made fairly level. It was constructed of large stones that are characterized by a dressed boss in their center, with no bonding material between them. The “header-stretcher” construction method used in building the tower is typical of the Hasmonean period. The tower was part of the line of the “First Wall” that is described by Josephus. Other sections of the “First Wall” were revealed at the base of the western wall of the Ottoman city wall, in David’s Citadel and in other excavations that were conducted in the Jewish Quarter. The soil fill and the pottery sherds that abut the city wall prove that it was used until the time of the Great Revolt and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in the year 70 CE. Afterwards, the stones of the wall were taken for secondary use, probably in order to build “Aelia Capitolina”, the Roman colony which the emperor Hadrian established on the ruins of Jerusalem in the year 131 CE.