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Early Roman-Era Chambers Discovered in Jerusalem

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Jerusalem Roman ChamberJERUSALEM, ISRAEL—According to an AFP report, students led by archaeologist Barak Monnickendam-Givon of the Israel Antiquities Authority discovered three small, 2,000-year-old chambers carved out of the bedrock underneath Jerusalem’s Western Wall Plaza. The site, now some 20 feet below modern street level, is located about 120 feet away from the base of the Western Wall, which runs alongside the area known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The underground chambers featured niches and elaborate carvings, and were connected with staircases. Fragments of clay oil lamps that may have been placed in the niches, cooking vessels, storage jars, and limestone cups helped the researchers to date the chambers. Monnickendam-Givon said the tiny rooms may have served as food storage for a building that has not been preserved, or as a place to prepare food for priests or pilgrims at the nearby temple. A large structure with a white mosaic floor was built on top of the chambers in the Byzantine period. To read about a Roman theater building uncovered at the Western Wall, go to "Front Row Seats."

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