New Jerusalem Discoveries
When archaeologists excavate in Jerusalem, they have to prepared to find just about anything from the city’s rich millennia-long history.
Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah and her colleagues discovered just that recently when they undertook an excavation at the edge of the Western Wall plaza, across from the Temple Mount and Judaism’s holiest site. In addition to uncovering evidence of quarries, structures and inscribed seals from the First Temple period, their excavations unearthed fascinating new evidence of Aelia Capitolina–the name given to Jerusalem when it was rebuilt as a Roman city in the second century C.E.
One of the most significant discoveries from Aelia Capitolina found in the recent excavations is the city’s eastern cardo, which ran north-south through the city and parallel to the more famous and previously known western cardo. When the Romans rebuilt Aelia Capitolina, they established the orthogonal street grid that was standard in Roman cities, including a north-south cardo and an east-west decumanus. In Jerusalem, however, the Romans built two cardos, both of which have now been found.