The main road that ran from Jerusalem’s City of David to the Temple Mount during the time of the Second Temple has been uncovered by Israeli archeologists, those involved in the dig said recently.
The road connected the Shiloah pool in the City of David to the Temple Mount compound. The 2,000-year-old road was discovered adjacent to the Shiloah pool during ongoing excavations at the site, said Israeli Antiquities Authority archeologist Eli Shukrun. He is directing the dig together with University of Haifa archeologist Prof. Ronny Reich.
The road was used by the tens of thousands of people who came to Jerusalem for the Jewish pilgrimage holidays during the Second Temple Period, who immersed themselves in the Shiloah pool before entering the Temple Mount, Shukrun said.
He said the road showed the centrality of both the Temple and the pool for life in the city at the time. Archeologists had previously discovered the other end of the 600-meter road near the Temple Mount, he said. The archeologists have not learned when the road was built, but they have determined that it was in use between the first half of the first century BCE and the destruction of the second Jewish Temple by the Romans in 70 CE.
“This was the main road of Jerusalem during the Second Temple period,” Shukrun said.
The archeologists also found large stones and boulders from the destruction of the Second Temple, burnt ashes, and an assortment of coins from the failed Jewish rebellion against the Romans.
The excavations at the site are being sponsored by the right-wing Ir David Foundation, which supports the reestablishment of Jewish communities in east Jerusalem. The latest finds in the City of David, located just outside the walls of the Old City, came two years after Israeli archeologists stumbled upon the 2,000-year-old pool while the city was carrying out infrastructure work for a new sewage line.
The waters of the Shiloah pool, which come from the nearby Gihon spring, were used in Jewish purification rituals carried out, among other times, before visits to the Temple.