The IAA has announced new discoveries from excavations under Wilson’s Arch, near the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The press release includes interesting details and I encourage you to read it.
Some excerpts and photos:
“Eight stone courses of the Western Wall that had been buried under an 8-meter layer of earth were recently uncovered in excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Western Wall Tunnels in Jerusalem. These stone courses, completely preserved, are built of massive stones and are outstanding in the quality of their construction.
“Furthermore, after the removal of this layer of soil, the archaeologists were surprised to discover that it covered the remnants of an extraordinary theater-like structure from the Roman period… Apparently, a great deal was invested in the construction of the theater which contained approximately 200 seats.”
The new stone courses match the level of others in the Western Wall tunnels. Having been buried for so many centuries, these are better preserved than the exposed stones at the Western Wall. They show typical massive, high-quality Herodian masonry.
I suggest watching this short video to see exactly what they found.
Wilson’s Arch is visible inside a synagogue to the left (north) of the Western Wall plaza today. The larger archway in this photo is the synagogue entrance.
Not surprisingly, there are plans to open this new area to tourists. Perhaps it will be ready in time for my May, 2018 tour?
Update: Leen Ritmeyer has images on his blog showing how Wilson’s Arch appeared with the Temple Mount some 2,000 years ago. He also has an impressive photo of Wilson’s Arch inside the modern synagogue by the Western Wall.
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