Archaeologists find battle site where Romans breached Jerusalem walls
Discovery confirms Josephus’s account of the conflict that saw destruction of Second Temple nearly 2,000 years ago, says Israeli Antiquities Authority
Israeli archaeologists found the site of a fierce battle where the Roman army bombarded and breached the walls of Jerusalem before conquering the city and destroying the Second Temple almost 2,000 years ago, officials said Thursday.
They said that the discovery, made last winter during an excavation of a construction site for the new campus of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design outside the Old City, also finally confirmed the description of the wall that was breached provided by the historian Josephus Flavius.
During the dig, the archaeologists found the remains of a tower surrounded by scores of stones and boulders fired by Roman catapults at the Jewish forces guarding the wall, the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement.
“This is a fascinating testimony of the intensive bombardment by the Roman army, led by Titus, on their way to conquering the city and destroying the Second Temple,” the statement said.
“The bombardment was intended to attack the sentries guarding the wall and provide cover for the Roman forces so they could approach the wall with battering rams and thereby breach the city’s defenses,” it said.
The part of the wall that was breached was known as the Third Wall. It was found in the area of modern Jerusalem known as the Russian Compound. According to accounts by Josephus, this part of the wall was designed to protect a new quarter of the city that developed outside the other two existing walls.
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