Finding Valuable History under Jerusalem Streets

Finding Valuable History under Jerusalem Streets

I’ve repeated countless times that you never know what you will find on the Jerusalem streets,

The saying that you never know what you will find under the Jerusalem streets takes upon itself new meaning daily.

An archaeological dig at the prophet Samuel’s Tomb was halted recently when workers exposed a World War I artillery shell.

Emek Tzurim National Park is in the upper reaches of the Kidron Valley.

View of Jerusalem from Sifting project

The park provides this impressive view of Jerusalem and it is the location of the Sifting Project.

Sifting project finds in new center at Zurim Valley

The Sifting Project, in the Zurim Valley, has a display of finds from the Second Temple period salvaged from the earth that was dumped by the Waqf.

In November 1999, Waqf carted away nine thousand tons of earth filled with centuries of history buried in it, to make an entrance to a new underground mosque for 10,000 Muslim worshipers.

I wrote about Dr. Gabi Barkai and this story four years ago.

Siting Project doing Givati parking lot earth

The revised Sifting Project is open to the public and ready for new amateur archaeologists.

Sifting project finds

The soil being checked currently is from the Pilgrims Road and Drainage Channel digs near the Jerusalem Old City Walls.

Looking for any bones or stones or coins sifting project

Each portion of the earth is carefully washed and searched.

Pottery from ancient times found in Jerusalem at sifting project

No gold bell or ancient coins, but we did find this piece of pottery in our bucket of dirt and rocks.

Our guide gave a demonstration. The staff is around to assist and supervise.

Stones found in the sifting project in Zurim Valley in Jerusalem

In this display case were colorful pieces from ancient wall mosaics.

Jerusalem Israel Sifting Project find of child ring in drainage ditch of Old City

This child’s ring may have fallen in the street and ended up in the drainage channel 2000 years ago. It was found recently.

Journalists crowd around to take a photo of ancient ring found

The tiny ring was a popular item to photograph.

Roman metal arrow head found in sifting project under road in Jerusalem

Also in the soil from outside the walls of Jerusalem was a metal tip from a Roman arrow.

Did you know the Romans had dice similar to those we use today?

Ancient coin found in Sifting Project

One of the valuable coins from the Roman period, proclaiming the independence of Jerusalem.

Sifting project in Jerusalem Israeli

After searching and sorting out valuables, the dirt is dumped and carted away.

Sifting project at Zurim Valley in Jerusalem Israel.

As we were leaving families arrived at the Sifting Project. All seemed engaged and eager to see what valuables they could find in their pail of earth.

Jerusalem Israel Sifting project view to Mt Scopus

Emek Tzurim National Park is located on the lower western slope of the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus.

a- Tur street near sifting project

It is situated next to the neighborhoods of Wadi al-Joz, A-Tur, and Beit Orot,

View of Zurim Valley Jerusalem Israel

as well as the campus of Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center.

The Sifting Project parking lot is the cleared spot on the left of this image.

View of Jerusalem from Sifting Project

With Jerusalem’s Old City insight, the remains of generations are being revealed.

Jerusalem: Layers of History Underground

Jerusalem: Layers of History Underground

It is obvious the future skyline of Jerusalem, Israel, is changing daily, as buildings go up and up.

But centuries of history of Jerusalem are underground going back thousands of years.

Jerusalem Western Wall plaza view

This is the image most think of when mentioning Jerusalem of old.

But under the Jerusalem, Israel streets layers of history are being revealed daily.

View of southern excavations old City Jerusalem

Along the southern side of the Old City Walls, the new excavations can be seen by everyone.

Givati parking lot archaeological site outside walls of Old City Jerusalem

The intricate archaeological work under the Givati Parking lot is another site open to the public.

Givati Parking lot excavation

Across from the Old City Walls, not far from Dung Gate, centuries-old houses are being restored.

Roman remains in Jerusalem archaeological dig

The remains of Roman domination in Jerusalem are on display.

House under excavation in Givati pakring lot in Jerusalem Israel near old City walls.

One new discovery was a two-story house. The destruction by Rome of Jerusalem was so powerful that the upper level of this house fell on top of the lower one and a two-meter high piece of the structure was unearthed.

Givati Parking lot excavation

As in other Ir David finds of the historic time period, blackened remnants from the destructive fires were discovered in this house.

I opted to take photos from above and not enter the bedroom below.

Jerusalem drainage route unearthed and from Givati parking lot to Western Wall

But below we did go.

We followed the path of the drainage system of Jerusalem to the Shiloah pool in the Kidron Valley, which was under the Jerusalem streets in the time of the Romans.

Map of old city Jerusalem in Givati Parking lot

This map shows the route of the planned Pilgrims Path which is being excavated and made safe for tourists.

Another layer under the old street has been found, the drainage channel from which the last Jews of Second Temple times tried to hide and escape from the Romans.

picture of Jerusalem in time of Rome

This poster illustrates the street scene in more pleasant ancient times and the drainage channel which ran below it.

However, the last Jews of Jerusalem did not escape to Masada.

They were discovered hiding in the drainage channel by the Romans and all murdered.

The artifacts they left behind are being revealed daily at the Sifting Project in the Zurim Valley.

Drainage path under Jerusalem during Roman times

Today large portions of the drainage channel have been careful revealed by archeologists.

From the Givati Parking lot, we surfaced at the base of the Western Wall.

Jerusalem Israel Western Wall stones of destruction from Rome

Here are stones from the Roman destruction of the Second Temple, tossed away and remaining today.

Stone with ancient markings in Jerusalem Old city

Pieces of stone with Temple carvings are in this area by the Davidson Southern Excavations.

Under your feet, almost anywhere in Jerusalem’s Old City are layers of history.

Jerusalem Israel under ground archaeological discoveries

A new excavation under the Western Wall exposed a very old mikvah, a ritual bath.

Digging under Western Wall

Work in this area leads archeologists to believe the Greeks were building a theater that was never completed.

Stones of Western Wall under ground

More sections of the Western Wall stones have been revealed under the present street level.

Jerusalem Israel Davidson Archaeological Park and view of Har Hazetim

The Davidson Southern Excavation is continuing with new discoveries, with the view of the Mount of Olives in the background and Al-Aqsa Mosque on the left.

Children in Jewish Quarter on trip

Children, tour groups, thousands of all ages filled the Jerusalem Old City streets during the Nine Days leading up to Tisha B’Av.

Sitting on stone in Jerusalem Israel reading Eicha on Tisha b'Av

People sat on the ground, on Jerusalem stones to hear Eicha, the book of Lamentations, at night.

Tens of thousands arrived all night long for Tisha B’Av at the Kotel, the Western Wall.

There was so much more I could share, but I will conclude with two favorites on Tisha B’Av.

Jerusalem Israel Tisha B'Av old man walking

This gentleman with a lovely English accent, born in 1931, took a head start before the group walking around the walls of the Old City. He said that he comes most every year for the last 25-years.  Later during the walk, he refused any help, and his only complaint was timing to get to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv after Shabbat.

Kessim, Ethiopian religious leaders, have been coming to the Kotel each year before Tisha B’Av to pray.

Before Tisha B'Av Kez, Ethiopian religious leaders visit Jerusalem to pray

Near the Kotel, under this old archway, three of the men, from the larger group of Kessin all dressed in white who were on a tour, stopped to talk.

Think about it–their traditions went back to the times of the First Temple.

They arrived in Jerusalem to find Zion, Jerusalem, the First Temple had been destroyed.

Another ancient war, another layer of history yet to be revealed.

On and below the Jerusalem streets, old and new, constantly evolving.

Though  15 Real Photos of Arab Girls was the most popular RJS post.

I hope you enjoyed these bits of archeological finds, there are more to share next time.

 

Jerusalem: Looking Forward 2019

Jerusalem: Looking Forward 2019

At the end of December, with each calendar year, many ‘best’ and ‘worst’ lists are published.

After spending considerable time thinking about it, in the end, I decided to let 2018 just slip away.

As the sun set on December 31, 2018, the skies over Jerusalem, Israel, were a blaze of color.

sunset

Walking home, I could tell it was going to be dramatic end for 2018, and was not disappointed.

The red horizon  popped with color on numerous photos I saw posted on Facebook.

Jerusalem Israel flowers

January not only has red sunsets popping with color, but purple flowers lining so many streets.

Yemin Moshe as seen leaving Zion Gate Old City Jerusalem Israel

January skies can be blue one minute,

Walls of Old City grey sky Jerusalem Israel

but then turn around a few minutes later to become grey and threatening.

Jerusalem Christmas decorations

With the Christian Orthodox Christmas still to be celebrated in January, holiday decorations still line the streets inside the Old City; these are near Jaffa Gate.

Woman in white bridal gown in Rova

This young woman dressed in a white bridal gown attracted a second glance.

Tourist groups filling Rova in Old City Jerusalem Israel

A record numbers of tourists arrived in Israel in 2018. The plaza in front of the Hurva Synagogue was full with hundreds of tours, large and small.

German couple in Old City Jerusalem Israel

I met this couple from Germany who stopped to look out from the Old City.

Jewish boys on sports court in Old City Jerusalem Israel

The sounds of these school boys at play below got our attention.

School children having lunch near 4 synagogues in Jerusalem Old City

The numerous tour groups included school children; these first graders came from Pardes Chana for the day.

Jerusalem four synagogues in Old City

They stopped for a lunch break near the Four Sephardic Synagogues in the Jewish Quarter.

When Jordanian Legion captured and occupied the Old City in 1948, all the Jewish residents were forced out.

Then Jordan proceeded to take over all Jewish property, and destroyed or occupied all of the synagogues.

The Four Sephardic Synagogues established centuries earlier were restored after 1967, and put back to use as Jewish houses of prayer.

From 1977, only an arch stood, where the rebuilt Hurva Synagogue, dedicated May 15, 2011, stands today.

Synagogue in Old City left destroyed by Jordanians in 1948 תפארת ישראל

Tiferet Israel was the only remaining destroyed synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem, as seen in this 2010 photograph.

Jordanian Legionnaire on rubble of destroyed Synagogue in Old City Jerusalem 1948

A Jordanian soldier stands on the Tiferet Israel ruins in this 1948 photo by Chalil Rissas, which was part of the Tower of David photography exhibit.

Wall of destroyed Tiferet Israel synagogue beginning repair

On January 1, 2019, this is how the outside wall of Tiferet Israel looked.

Inside Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue as rebuilding begins

Inside a construction crew was busy working on its reconstruction and restoration.

Jerusalem Israel synagogue Karaite

Tiferet Israel is across from the Karaite Synagogue, one of the oldest in the world.

Street off Rova where Tiferet Israel Synagogue is being rebuilt

For those who have walked the streets of the Old City, Tiferet Israel will rise above the “main street” which leads to the Western Wall, the Kotel, from the Rova, the Jewish Quarter Plaza.

Or maybe easier to visualize, it is next to a better known landmark, the shwarma place.

Photo of Tiferet Israel synagogue in future

The project to rebuild and replace the synagogue destroyed on May 21, 1948 is finally underway.

steps down to Tiferet Yisrael synagogue

The laying of cornerstone of the new old Tiferet Israel took place on December 31, 2018.

Hopefully it will not take 10 years to complete as did the Hurva rebuilding.

View from Citadel Hotel to Mamilla across the road. Jerusalem Israel

Hope you enjoyed this quick stroll through a few favorite Jerusalem, Israel streets.

Teddy Park Jerusalem Israel

I will conclude with this bit of Teddy Park I passed on way my way home.

Most people today do not realize, all of this was either under Jordanian rule or in No Man’s Land from 1948-1967.

Mount of Olives Cemetery from Old City near Zion Gate

Jerusalem, Israel, with its ancient sites, and always with something new.

As the pretty  purple flowers bloom, we look forward to 2019.