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Second Temple Pilgrimage Route Uncovered

reprinted from Arutz 7
Elul 24, 5769, 13 September 09

by Gil Ronen

Archaeologists have uncovered a section of a stone-paved street with stairs which connected the Temple Mount with the Pool of Shiloach (Siloam). The section is about 550 meters south of the Temple Mount, and is believed to be the point at which pilgrims began to ascend by foot to the Temple during Second Temple times (516 BCE 70 CE).

The archaeological dig at the location is being conducted by the Nature and Parks Authority, with the sponsorship of the Elad nonprofit organization. Prof. Roni Reich of Haifa University and Eli Shukrun of the Antiquities Authority are in charge of the excavation.

The existence of this section of the street has been known for over a hundred years, ever since it was first uncovered in the years 1894-97 by British archaeologists Frederick Bliss and Archibald Dickie, who were sponsored by the Palestine Exploration Fund. The two covered the street section with dirt when they completed the dig, for its protection. Additional sections of the street were uncovered and then covered again, in digs by Jones in 1937 and Kathleen Kenyon in 1961-67.

The street was Jerusalem's central street, ascending northward from the north-western corner of the Pool of Shiloach. Another part of the street is exposed and runs across the western side of the Temple Mount.

The section uncovered in the present dig is a narrow strip, one to two meters wide, along the street's western shoulder. The street is paved in familiar Second Temple style, in alternating narrow and wide steps.

Another section of street and a large drainage canal were uncovered nearby about two years ago.

 

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