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Byzantine Era Main Street Discovered in Jerusalem

Israel Government Tourist Office  Midwest Region

Press Release

 

JERUSALEM MAIN STREET FROM THE BYZANTINE ERA EXPOSED

 

Jerusalem, Israel - 16 February 2010 - During an excavation in Jerusalem, flagstones from a 1500 year old street - following the same course as today's David Street in the Old City of Jerusalem - were exposed.

Madaba MapThe find confirms the Madaba Map, an ancient mosaic map in a church in Jordan from the sixth-seventh century AD. The map depicts the Land of Israel during the Byzantine period, and shows that there was an entrance to Jerusalem from the west via a very large gate that led to a single, central thoroughfare.

Various evidence of the important buildings in Jerusalem that appear on the map already exists - for example, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher - but the large bustling street from the period when Jerusalem became a Christian city had not been discovered until now.

According to Dr. Ofer Sion, excavation director, "It is wonderful to see that David Street, which is teeming with so much life today, actually preserved the route of the noisy street from 1,500 years ago".

Ancient Jerusalem ThoroughfareDuring the Middle Ages, a large building was constructed on the stone foundations of the Byzantine period. During the Mamluk period (13-14th centuries AD) elongated rooms, some vaulted, were built inside this structure, apparently used as shops and storerooms. Beneath this building, below the street that runs between David's Citadel and David Street and leads to the Armenian Quarter, is an enormous 5 meter deep cistern which supplied water to its occupants.

The artifacts that were discovered in the excavations include an abundance of pottery vessels and coins and five small square bronze weights that the shopkeepers used for weighing precious metals.


Photo credit: Israel MInistry of Tourism

                

 

 

 

 

 

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