(ORDO NEWS) — Three underground rooms were found during excavations at the western wall in the Old Town. Their appointment so far is a mystery to archaeologists.
The new archaeological site was manually carved out of hard rock with various tools, including iron hammers.
Excavations started last year. Archaeologists decided to study the remains of a late Byzantine building, located about 35 meters from the base of the wall. It all started with a study of a simple tiled floor, paved with white mosaic. Under this floor, three underground rooms were found, occupying different floors and connected by a staircase. The size of the two rooms is 2.5 × 4 meters and 2.5 × 2.5 meters. The third room has yet to be excavated.
Archaeologists suggest that this underground system could be part of a much larger social structure that has since been destroyed. Niches were found in the rooms, in which there were entirely and fragmented preserved clay oil lamps and bowls made of limestone. Dating has shown that their age is approximately 2000 years, and archaeologists are inclined to think that the rooms were cut down at the same time.
The purpose of the premises remains a mystery. The head of the excavations, Barack Monnickendam-Givon, suggests that they could be living quarters, serve as storerooms or even be a place to hide during the Roman raids.
Underground archaeological excavations take place at a depth of approximately six to seven meters. Researchers hope the discovery of new objects, such as fragments of bones and ceramics, will help shed light on everyday life in Jerusalem until it was destroyed by Rome in 70 CE.
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