Before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem’s Second Temple in 70 C.E., there was a so-called “third wall” circling the Holy City. Remains of a tower jutting from this wall were first uncovered last year during construction on the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem’s Russian Compound.
At a time when the Jewish connection to Jerusalem is being challenged by UNESCO, this discovery offering insight on the city’s boundaries just before the invasion by Titus is especially significant.
. . . opposite the tower’s western façade, scores of ancient ballista and sling stones that the Romans fired from catapults at the Jewish guards stationed on top of the tower to defend the wall were discovered, further buttressing proof of its existence.
According to Dr. Rina Avner and Kfir Arbib, excavation directors on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, the finds provide telling testament of the brutal Roman offensive against the city.
“This is a fascinating testimony of the intensive bombardment by the Roman army, led by Titus, on their way to conquering the city and destroying the Second Temple,” the archeologists said in a joint statement.
“The bombardment was intended to attack the sentries guarding the wall, and provide cover for the Roman forces, so they could approach the wall with battering rams and thereby breach the city’s defenses.”