Israeli archaeologists made two important discoveries during excavations of a drainage channel in the ancient City of David, including a Roman sword from the time of the destruction of the second Jewish temple in 70 AD and an engraving of a Menorah on a piece of stone dating from 66 AD.
The finds, which were announced on Monday by the Israel Antiquities Authority, show that the drainage channel in the City of David served as a hiding place for the residents of Jerusalem during the Roman siege of the second temple, the IAA said in a statement.
Excavation directors Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa noted that the sword likely belonged to a Roman infantryman.
"The sword’s fine state of preservation is surprising: Israeli archaeologists made two important discoveries during excavations of a drainage channel in the ancient City of David, its length (23.6 inches/60 cm.) but also the preservation of the leather scabbard (a material that generally disintegrates quickly over time) and some of its decoration,” the IAA statement said.
The second temple, built by King Herod, was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans.
A stone object engraved with a picture of a menorah was found next to the channel. Researchers believe that the etching of the golden seven-branched candelabrum may have been carved by a visitor to the nearby temple, but later tossed aside. The carving confirms the original design of the menorah's base: a tripod shape, Shukron and Reich said.
The sword is the third Roman one found in Jerusalem.
The ancient drainage channel begins in the Siloam Pool and runs from the City of David to the archaeological garden near the Western Wall. The excavations are being conducted on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, in cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority and underwritten by the City of David Foundation.
Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on connecting Christians to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.