Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The end of the Great Revolt

EXCAVATION: Archaeologists Find the Last Hideout of the Jewish Revolt in Jerusalem. Titus' soldiers ripped paving stones out of the street to find the last rebels 2,000 years ago. Archaeologists think they have found those hiding places (Ariel David, Haaretz).
Below the street’s thick slab stones lay a large roofed drainage canal that channeled rain water away from the city. It was in this underground channel, which was wide and tall enough for people to comfortably stand in, that archeologists found the first puzzle.

Among the sediments and refuse that had filled it up were several coins from the period of the revolt that confirmed the dating of the site - as well as cooking pots and utensils.

“We found two perfectly preserved cooking pots,” says Ronny Reich, an emeritus professor of archaeology at Haifa University who, until recently, headed the dig of the stepped road. “If they had rolled in or had been thrown out as garbage, they would have been in pieces. The fact that they were intact indicates that people used them in the canal, and lived there for a time.”

The second clue came from the state of the street above. Most of it was intact, except that in five spots the paving stones had been broken and removed to create an opening into the canal below, Reich says.

Researchers now connect these finds to the text of Josephus Flavius, the Jewish-rebel-turned-Roman-collaborator who wrote the history of the revolt. In “The Jewish War,” Josephus recounts how, after the Roman legions, led by Titus, breached the walls of Jerusalem and burned down the Temple, some of the surviving rebels and civilians took refuge in the sewers and underground spaces of the city.