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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Roman-Period Structure Found Near Jerusalem’s Western Wall

Monday, October 16, 2017

Jerusalem stone coursesJERUSALEM, ISRAEL—Reuters reports that Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists have exposed eight courses of stone wall in the Western Wall Tunnels, some 26 feet below the surface of the Old City. The excavation has also uncovered an unfinished, theater-like structure dated to the Late Roman period with pottery and coins. (The results of radiocarbon testing are expected in a few months.) Such a theater was mentioned by Josephus Flavius and other ancient sources. The structure was found under Wilson’s Arch, one of a series of arches that supported a passageway to the Temple Mount, and may have been intended for musical performances or city council meetings. “This is the first time that a theater-like structure has been exposed in Jerusalem, so it’s extremely exciting,” said Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Joe Uziel. The theater and the area around the arch were covered with dirt and debris after an earthquake around A.D. 360. For more on archaeology in Israel, go to “Reading Invisible Messages.”

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