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 One Summer Night of Two Hugs

Jerusalem One Summer Night of Two Hugs

Oft repeated here,

you never know what you will find on the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

Antique car on Jerusalem Israel street

This cute little “Electric Bimba” on the street certainly fits the theme.

Forty three degrees in car parked in sun

As the Jerusalem temperature was rising outside, our car parked in the sun went to 43 degrees C, over 100 degrees F. I have no idea what the temperature was in the old revved up personal transporter.

Fountain in Teddy Park Jerusalem Israel

People gather at Teddy Park in the evening, for the water fountain to go on and cool off.

Jerusalem Israel Yad Vashem

One place with thousands of visitors daily, no matter what the weather, is Yad Vashem.

A very special event was held on July 25 in the evening.

Rabbi Y M in Yad Vashem synagogue

As Rav Yisrael Meir Lau Israel’s former Chief Rabbi told his story, he looked at an image projected on the wall of the synagogue.

The occasion was a conference on Holocaust education for North American Jewish educators.

The image was that of him as an 8-year old child.

A Holocaust and concentration camp survivor, the image shows him sitting on a bench between Jewish US Army soldiers who liberated Buchenwald.

Sixty percent of the concentration camp survivors died during the first few days after liberation.  His older brother Naftali z”l was ill, so weak he was unconscious, and was not aware of liberation until much later.

Rabbi Hershel Schacter z”l, was the US Army chaplain who entered with the liberating US Army, who extended his hand to the frightened little boy.

Next to speak was his son, Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter, who told the story of his father’s desire to serve in the US Army during wartime.

From the Yad Vashem synagogue, after listening to the emotional remarks from both rabbis, the assembled group walked solemnly into the main building.

Rabbi Y M Lau pointing to himself as a child in large photo in Yad Vashem

There Rabbi Lau pointed to where he sat amid the US Jewish soldiers and Holocaust survivors in the famous image.

On the far left side of this US Army photograph, is Rabbi Schacter z”l, 25 years old, leading the Shavuot holiday service.

Rabbi Y M Lau at Yad Vashem near photo of himself as a child

In Jerusalem, in Yad Vashem, in the hall of memories, Rabbi Lau spoke with the son of Rabbi Schacter z”l of his first Jewish memories as a survivor.

Near photo of his father Rabbi JJ Schacter hugs Rabbi Y M Lau who was also in the image as a child after liberation

The two men hugged in front of the iconic image, in the presence of Rabbi Schacter’s z”l extended family, which included a great-grandson.

A unique and meaningful hug, spanning decades of history, uniting liberators and survivors.

Jerusalem is a city, of contrasts, old and new, and diverse realities.

Jerusalem Film Festival opening night

From Yad Vashem, as the sun was setting, I rushed to the Jerusalem Film Festival opening in the Sultan’s Pool.Jerusalem Film Festival in Sultan's Pool

The screen could be seen from the Cinematheque, with the walls of the Old City in the background.

Jerusalem Film Festival Israeli President Rivlin speaking at opening event

President Reuven Rivlin was the honored guest, as a new film award was initiated in memory of his wife Nechama z”l.

Jerusalem Film Festival Paul Newman

In the opening video presentation along with greetings from Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion and Sports and Cultural Minister Miri Regev, were clips from the movie Exodus.

Paul Newman in Exodus in opening video at Jerusalem Film Festival

I wonder how many people learned of the establishment of modern Israel and were influenced by Paul Newman in this 1960 movie.

Dr Ruth and President Reuven Rivlin

As for the second hug of the evening, Dr. Ruth Westheimer is back in Jerusalem. The documentary movie of her fascinating life was a feature of this annual film festival.

Jerusalem Film Festival honoree Katzriel Schori

Katriel Schori received an award for lifetime achievement in Israeli film.

View from Cinematheque of Old City and Sultan's Pool at Jerusalem Film Festival

I left before the main film was shown, but I could see Schori accepting his award on the screen.

Jerusalem Food Truck in Haginon Park

Down below in the valley the Food Truck Festival was going strong.

Thousands of people were out enjoying the cooler evening temperatures on very crowded Jerusalem streets.

Back to the Future with the Philharmonic orchestra performing live near the Old City walls was sold out days before. It was a Jerusalem Film Festival success.

However, the film festival has open and free film showings in various neighborhood parks.

Jerusalem film festival sign for public free film

This sign in Arnona is for a film on Wednesday night in Baka.   It will be shown free of charge outside in a park.

Jerusalem Israel parks signs in Arabic and Hebrew to keep clean

Signs in Arabic and Hebrew request that the parks be left clean.

Day or night, another week with many and diverse happenings on the Jerusalem streets.