Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ruins Found in ... Parking Lot?

I'd like to give a hat tip to The Muqata for bringing this story about a newly found Roman mansion that was destroyed during an earthquake in the 4th century.
A "magnificent" two-story Roman mansion of more than 1,000 square meters has been discovered by archeologists in the City of David Archeological Park outside the capital's Old City, the Antiquities Authority announced on Monday.
Previously, archeologist believed 3rd century Roman ruins extended only to the edge of the Ottoman Old City walls. The discovery of the mansion within the Givati parking lot, outside the walls and adjacent to the City of David, however, suggests Roman construction may have stretched to the bottom of the Silwan Valley, Dr. Doron Ben-Ami, the excavation's director, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
"This discovery was very surprising," Ben-Ami said. "We didn't expect to find any Roman building remains within the City of David. We were astonished at how huge the structure is. So far we uncovered 1,000 square meters and the structure still extends beyond the limits of the excavation area."
The find has already revolutionized historians' understanding of Roman settlement in Jerusalem, he said.
For more, read the whole megillah.