Arkeologar arbeider for tida med omfattande utgravingar på den store plassen framfor Vestmuren / Klagemuren i Jerusalem. Det er ikkje daglegdags med større utgravingar midt i Gamlebyen, så her er det spennande kva som blir funne. Det er mange lag historie i den 3000 år gamle byen. Jerusalem Post har ein omtale av utgravingane.
There is a huge hole at each end of the Western Wall Plaza, one of which is expanding by the day. Both are significant archeological excavations now in progress under the auspices of the Israel Antiquities Authority, but they differ in their scope and implications for the area.
The Mughrabi Gate excavation site and that where the police station once stood are both considered “rescue digs” – that is, important construction was about to take place in the area, but first the government wanted to check what was “going on underneath.” As is typical in the Old City, excavators were not disappointed with what they found.
“A large educational center for Moreshet Hakotel will be built on this plot,” she begins. “That’s why we were called in to conduct a ‘rescue dig.’ The first thing we found were buildings from the Mameluke period [mid-13th century through early 16th century]. This must have been an important commercial center in that period.”
She continues, “As we dug deeper we found a second-century Cardo – a huge boulevard that runs from this area all the way to Damascus Gate,” which ran parallel to the one in the Jewish Quarter that was flanked by pillars, she explains.
“We’ve only found pillars on one side, so far,” she admits, “but that’s what is shown on the famous Madeba Map.”
This thoroughfare ran along El Wad (Rehov Hagai today) and was once 14 meters wide.
There was also a well-constructed drainage system, with aqueducts that carried water all the way from the Hebron area to the Temple Mount. There are remnants of a wide sidewalk and shops along both sides of the boulevard. The outlines of some shops are discernible in the bedrock that marks the western cliff-like limits of the plaza (under the present Chabad soup kitchen).
“By the sixth or seventh century, however, the Cardo along this section was gone, either destroyed by wars, an earthquake, or to make room for a massive building,” says Wexler. (les meir)