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New Find Proves an old Theory (2006)

The City of David is located on a small hill south of the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem. The area has been the site of numerous explorations since the 19th century. Recent excavations have revealed the corner of the Pool of Siloam, known from the New Testament as the site where Jesus healed a blind man (John 9). Archaeologists have only now realized its full size after excavations began by chance, as the result of a blockage in the local sewerage pipe.

In addition, the excavations discovered the end of the main street dating to the first century CE, whose continuation is well known to visitors at the Western Wall. The new finds provide a better understanding of the first century CE city. The main street began near the Damascus Gate, continued along the western wall of the TempleMount and ended at the Pool of Siloam.

Part of the ancient street recently unearthed near the Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem

Part of the ancient street recently unearthed near the Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem

What is even more interesting is that somebody knew all this before the street was discovered! Anyone visiting the famous model at the Holy Land Hotel showingJerusalem as it looked in the first century sees that in the model the main street ends at the Pool of Siloam. But the model was constructed about 30 years ago! How did its creators know about the street before it was excavated? The answer is found in the intellectual wisdom of the archaeological consultant for the model, the late Michael Avi-Yonah. Professor at the Hebrew University, Avi-Yonah based his work on information found in the writings of Josephus Flavius, in the New Testament, in Jewish sources such as the Mishna and the Talmud and in the traditions concerning important buildings of the time. Professor Avi-Yonah supervised the construction of the model and its renovation until his death in 1974.

The exposure of the street continues and it is planned to be eventually opened to the public.

A model of Jerusalem

A model of Jerusalem created in the 1960’s shows the main street of Jerusalem ending at the Pool of Siloam (centre foreground). This was not at the time the model was built but recent finds proved this to be the correct hypothesis.

Hoard of Jars found in Cana

In my “Archaeology of the New Testament” series I recently reviewed Cana and its possible locations. Ongoing excavations at the site on the western hill of the Arab village Kafr Cana have recently revealed further finds from the Roman period village. The finds include the foundation of walls of private houses as well as underground storage rooms. One of the most intriguing discoveries was a set of jars piled in a storage room. These jars evoked in my memory the jars mentioned in the New Testament in connection with the story of the wedding in Cana that Jesus attended. “Now there were set there six waterpots” (John 2:6). Could these be the jars mentioned in the text? Hardly. The text refers clearly to jars made of stone, not clay jars. Stone jars were made of limestone and were bigger and heavier than recently discovered clay jars . Furthermore the text refers to six jars while the newly discovered hoard is of eleven jars. But it is still a nice illumination of the daily life in rural

villages from the time of Jesus.

Excavations near Kefr Cana, identified as the Biblical Cana

Excavations near Kefr Cana, identified as the Biblical Cana, have unearthed the foundations of houses as well as storage rooms like these shown in this photo.

Some of the jars discovered in western Cana piled up in a storage room.

Some of the jars discovered in western Cana piled up in a storage room.