Researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem investigated erosion in the different types of limestone in the Western Wall located at the foot of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Stones comprised of large crystals were almost unchanged in 2000 years, while limestone containing small crystals eroded much faster and in some cases had receded by tens of centimeters, potentially weakening the wall’s structure.
The researchers describe an accelerated erosion process that explains why some rocks are more weathered than others, and displayed that chemo-mechanical erosion extends down to the tiny micron scale. The findings could have significant implications for regional and global carbonate weathering, and could help guide the development of effective preservation techniques that slow the rate of erosion in order to protect cultural heritage sites around the world. Read more.
A rare seal of the Monastery of St. Sabas was excavated in the Bayit VeGan neighborhood in Jerusalem. The seal was unearthed a year and a half ago, but it was only after processing and studying the material that it was identified as a unique seal that was stamped by the Monastery of St. Sabas.
During the summer of 2012 the IAA conducted two archaeological salvage excavations at the Horbat Mizmil antiquities site in the Bayit VeGan neighborhood in Jerusalem. These revealed the remains of a farmstead constructed during the Byzantine period (fifth–sixth centuries CE). The site, was abandoned at the end of the Byzantine period, and resettled during the Crusader period (eleventh–twelfth centuries CE), reaching its maximum size during the Mamluk period (thirteenth–fifteenth centuries CE). Read more.
Wall murals portraying Crusader knights and symbols of medieval military orders have been rediscovered in a Jerusalem hospital thanks to a burst water pipe and a storeroom reorganization.
These paintings were the works of a French count who believed himself to be a descendant of Crusaders, Comte Marie Paul Amédée de Piellat. The count was a frequent visitor to Jerusalem and had the Saint-Louis Hospice built between 1879 and 1896, naming it after St. Louis IX, a king of France and leader of the Seventh Crusade between A.D. 1248 and 1254.
During World War I, however, the hospital came under the control of Turkish forces, who painted over the designs with black paint. The count returned to Jerusalem to restore his murals, but died in the hospital in 1925, his work undone. Read more.
An archaeologist with Israel’s Antiquities Authority believes his team has uncovered a metal chisel that may have been used in the construction of the Second Temple, Israeli media are reporting, describing the finding as “extraordinary” and “astonishing.”
The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is considered to be the most holy site in Judaism, which stands alongside the Western Wall — that is, the remaining structure of the Second Temple.
“It is a 15 cm [6 inches] long ancient chisel. For the first time, after 2,000 years, we are in the possession of a work tool used by the builders who built the Kotel, the Western Wall,” said Eli Shukron who heads the archaeological dig just south of the Western Wall. Read more.
On the outskirts of Jerusalem, archaeologists have discovered the remains of a 2,300-year-old rural village that dates back to the Second Temple period, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced.
Trenches covering some 8,000 square feet (750 square meters) revealed narrow alleys and a few single-family stone houses, each containing several rooms and an open courtyard. Among the ruins, archaeologists also found dozens of coins, cooking pots, milling tools and jars for storing oil and wine.
"The rooms generally served as residential and storage rooms, while domestic tasks were carried out in the courtyards,” Irina Zilberbod, the excavation director for the IAA, explained in a statement. Read more.
A lead curse tablet, dating back around 1,700 years and likely written by a magician, has been discovered in a collapsed Roman mansion in Jerusalem, archaeologists report.
The mansion, which is being excavated by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Givati Parking Lot, is located in what is known as the “City of David,” an area that holds at least 6,000 years of human occupation. The mansion itself covers at least 2,000 square meters (about half an acre) and contains two large open courtyards adjacent to each other. It was in use between the late third century and A.D. 363, when it was destroyed in a series of earthquakes on May 18 or 19. Read more.
An ancient cache of 36 gold coins, gold and silver jewelry and a gold medallion etched with Jewish symbols have been uncovered in excavations at the foot of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
The find, which is estimated to be about 1,400 years old, is a “once-in-a lifetime discovery,” according to Eilat Mazar, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeologist who directed the excavation. Etched into the medallion is a menorah, the 7-branched candelabrum used in the ancient Temple, a ram’s horn, and a Torah scroll.
The position of the items as they were discovered indicates that one bundle was carefully hidden underground, while the second bundle appeared to be abandoned in haste and scattered across the floor, according to an e-mailed statement from Hebrew University. Read more.
An archaeological dig in the City of David, an ancient site in Jerusalem, uncovered shards of pottery, clay lamps, figurines and a ceramic bowl with a 2,700-year-old inscription in ancient Hebrew, according to new research.
A layer of artifacts was found during a recent excavation of an area known as Gihon Spring, which was the main source of water for the City of David. The ceramic bowl, with its partially preserved inscription on the rim, likely dates back to about 600 B.C. to 700 B.C., said lead researcher Joe Uziel, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The inscription is likely the latter part of the name of an individual from the seventh century B.C., the researchers said. Read more.