Last week news stories about a Greek fortress found just south of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem were trending on Facebook. The actual announcement was made last November, but it is in the news again.
Tonight I will share a few pictures that I took of the excavation where they claim to have found the fortress called Acra which was built by Antiochus Epiphanes in the second century B.C.
I took the pictures last summer during the weekend between the two weeks I spent digging at Lachish.
We were on the way back to our hotel after walking through Hezekiah’s Tunnel. To get back to the old quarter we walked up the Herodian Channel which runs from the Pool of Siloam to the base of the Temple Mount.
We exited the channel by climbing up these steps up to what is known as the Givati Parking Lot Dig.
Over the years they have found an Islamic market, an orchard, a Roman villa and of course now the remains of a large fortress. In the picture above you see a large Mosaic floor from the Roman villa.
In this picture you can see the surrounding neighborhood and the extent of the excavations. The hole is now three stories deep and you can see that they have found a lot of structures as they have dug down.
The shade structures were also very interesting. It is in the shaded areas that they were digging last year when they made the most recent discoveries.
There are some questions about the identification of the fortress. The location of Acra has been debated for a long time and questions about this identification revolve around the relationship of this fortress to the Temple Mount. The fortress was said to overlook the Temple Mount and this site would probably have been too low.
I remember hearing a lot about the Givati Parking Lot Dig site last year while digging at Lachish. Most of the archaeology students from Israel had dug at this site at some time. This is where many of them first learned dig techniques as it is right in the city of Jerusalem and close to the universities there. I am sure that it will be the subject of conversation again this year, especially with the new discoveries.
I am definitely Looking Forward to Lachish tonight 🙂