Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Roof tiles from Antiochus's Acra? Maybe.

SAVED UP FOR HANUKKAH? Archaeologists May Have Found Roof Tiles From Antiochus’ Missing Citadel in Jerusalem. Antiochus Epiphanes built a mighty fort in Jerusalem in the second century B.C.E., and may have used ‘pagan’ tiling technology to annoy the Jews a little more (Ruth Schuster, Haaretz).
Fragments of clay roof tiles dated to the second century B.C.E. have been found in Jerusalem, even though such tiles were unknown in Judea at the time, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Wednesday.

These special tiles may have come from none other than the missing Acra – the massive fortress built somewhere in Jerusalem (where is quite the question) by the angry Seleucid Emperor Antiochus IV, aka Antiochus Epiphanes, as part of his drive to subdue the rebellious region in the late second century B.C.E.


It was more the second quarter of the second century BCE.

In 2015 the first claim came in that remains of Antiochus IV (Epiphanes)'s Acra had been excavated at the Givati parking lot in Jerusalem. It was greeted with some skepticism. See here and here.

These roof tiles potentially add some support to the claim, but there is still a lot of inference involved. And part of what we thought we knew about the Acra's location has to be explained away.

This is one of those things that will probably not be resolved unless we find a plaque inscribed in Greek with "Welcome to the Acra." We'll see.

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