Monday, August 8, 2011


In our latest archaeological discovery in Israel, an ancient sword has been unearthed:

Israeli archaeologists have discovered a Roman sword from the time of the destruction of the second Jewish temple in 70 AD, officials said on Monday as Jews prepared to mourn the anniversary.

The Israel Antiquities Authority said that the 60-centimetre (23.6-inch) long weapon and its leather scabbard were found during excavations in a 2,000-year-old drainage channel in the City of David, in the Arab neighbourhood of Silwan just south of Jerusalem's Old City walls.

It said in a statement that the channel, which funnelled rainwater to the biblical pool of Siloam, "served as a hiding refuge for the residents of Jerusalem from the Romans during the destruction of the Second Temple."

A spokeswoman told AFP the find was made last week.

According to Jewish tradition, the first temple, built by King Solomon, was razed by the Babylonians on the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av. 586 BC.

The second temple, built on the same site by King Herod, is said to have been destroyed on the same date in 70 AD, as Roman forces put down a Jewish revolt.

Observant Jews mark the day, which begins at sunset on Monday, by reading from the Book of Lamentations, fasting for 24 hours and refraining from sex and entertainment in an annual ritual of mourning.

"It seems that the sword belonged to an infantryman of the Roman garrison stationed in Israel at the outbreak of the Great Revolt against the Romans in 66 CE," the antiquities authority statement said.

"The sword?s fine state of preservation is surprising: not only its length but also the preservation of the leather scabbard (a material that generally disintegrates over time) and some of its decoration," it added.

It said that a stone object engraved with a picture of a menorah was found next to the channel.

It said researchers think that the picture might have been carved by a visitor to the nearby temple, struck by the magnificence of its golden seven-branched candelabrum, making his own impression of the sight on a piece of rock and then casting it aside.
And this makes another excellent addition to historical research.

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