Ancient street found in Jerusalem’s Old City about 1,500 years old!

Posted: February 14, 2010 in Archaeology, Excavation, Historical Archaeology, History
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

An ancient street have been found by archaeologists in Jerusalem’s Old City. The street will give new information about the street and the commercial life in Jerusalem about 1,500 years ago. The street was found in a quite interesting way. The Israeli archaeologists found the street by looking on an ancient map. The map was found in 1894 on the floor of af Byzantine-era church in Madaba in Jordan and showed the locations of major streets and Christian sites in Jerusalem as well as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher which is the site it is belived Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

The 6 meter (20-foot) section of the street that was excavated passes from the west into the center of Jerusalem’s Old City. It also stands upon a large cistern that supplied water to the city’s 30-40 000 residents. But the street was not everything the archaeologists discovered but also finds were made of coins, pottery, and bronze weights. The bronze weights were used to measure precious metal from the Byzantine times.

The finding of the street confirms the accuracy of the map. The map is dated to the 6th century and will probably now continue to be used by archaeologists working in Jerusalem and it is mainly used for the period 4th-6th centuries. During this time Jerusalem was actually a Roman city called Aelia Capitolina and Jews wasn’t allowed to enter because of their revolt against the Roman authority in 132 A.D. This made the city a big center for Christianity.  This street was the center during a great commercially successful period in Jerusalems history. The street was found about 4,5 meters below the today’s street-level. The street have had a sidewalk and a row of columns. An another street have been excavated previously and that street was known as Card which went from north to south and along the street alot there were alot of shops.

Once the excavation and restoration of the white-stoned street is done the street will once again will be covered due to heavy pedestrian traffic. But there is currently on-going discussions about of having a segment of the street open for public. It was excavated beacause of the plans of building an electric cable system on the site. Israeli law is a bit like Swedish law and the law requires the authority to inspect construction zones for ruins and other ancient monuments and artifacts before the construction work can begin.

You can read more here

Excavating and finding monuments and artifacts in places like Jerusalem can be quite filled with controversy but hopefully archaeologists can bring a more diverse view of what happened in the city. The ancient map that was used will probably be of great value when excavations continue in Israel and especially in Jerusalem.

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