Monday, July 01, 2019

Opening of Pilgrim's Road

ARCHAEOLOGICAL POLITICS: NEW DISCOVERY IN JERUSALEM'S CITY OF DAVID: 2,000-YEAR-OLD PILGRIMAGE ROAD. The City of David has already changed Jerusalem. A new discovery there opening soon will change the way Jews connect with their past in a way never seen before (Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post).
As is often the case with archeology, though, the first discovery or two are just the beginning. That is how a few weeks ago I found myself on an exclusive tour of an ancient road dug out beneath the village of Silwan and above the now well-known water channel (also the place where Jewish rebels made a final stand against the Roman invaders).

The ancient street is referred to as “Pilgrimage Road,” since archeologists are convinced that this is the path millions of Jews took three times a year when performing the commandment of aliyah l’regel – going up to the holy city of Jerusalem to bring sacrifices to God during Judaism’s three key holidays, Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.

The Pilgrimage Road goes all the way from the Shiloah Pool to the area adjacent to the Western Wall known as Robinson’s Arch, where today you can still see remnants of the ancient stairway that led into the Jewish Temple.
I wouldn't call this a new discovery. The project has been around for a while. But aside from the headline, the article gives a good overview of the archaeological significance of the road. And there are lots of politics to go around too. See, for example, the following article:

FRIEDMAN, GREENBLATT ATTEND ARCHAEOLOGICAL INAUGURATION IN CITY OF DAVID. Emek Shaveh activists were removed by police from protesting against the Sunday opening of Pilgrim Road, which they call “Fighting Road” (Hagay Hacohen, Jerusalem Post).
US Ambassador David Friedman and US Middle East special envoy Jason Greenblatt attended the inauguration of Pilgrimage Road in the City of David on Sunday, triggering angry denunciations from Palestinian and left-wing circles for taking part in a “settler project.”

Ministers Rafi Peretz and Uri Ariel, US Senator Lindsey Graham, Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, Israel Antiquities Authority director Israel Hasson, and US billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam were also among those present at the event.

I noted the story of the broken sewage pipe in Jerusalem that lead to the uncovering of the first bit of road here, here, and here.

Some other past posts on the Pilgrim's Road Project in Jerusalem and the attendant politics are here, here, here, and here.

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