Rare Archaeological Find Hints at Roman Life in Jerusalem after Destruction of Second Temple

Rare Oil Lamp Found Along Pilgrim's Path in City of David

Rare Oil Lamp Found Along Pilgrim’s Path in City of David

05-07-2021 CBN News Jerusalem Julie Stahl

A rare archaeological find uncovered in the ancient City of David hints at Roman life in Jerusalem after the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple.

Israeli archaeologists excavating along the Pilgrim’s Path in the City of David unearthed a rare bronze oil lamp, buried in the wall of a building along the route.

“We have to remember that after the destruction of 70 AD, the entire City of David’s hill went out of the city borders. It was no longer part of the city, but the importance of the area again is the water in the Silwan [Siloam] pool,” said Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologist Ari Levy.Related


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The Pilgrim’s Path was the road connecting the pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount during the time of Jesus. But after the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD, the Romans still guarded the road so they could access the water in the pool.

“The Romans themselves built the structure to guard the water. So, we started excavating the structure and within one of the walls of the structure, we found half of a bronze oil lamp in the form of a theatre mask,” said Levy, who leads the excavation along the Pilgrim’s Path for the IAA.

Modeled after Roman mythology, the lamp is shaped like a grotesque face and is cut in half.

“The lamp itself was inserted to the structure itself, to the wall of the structure as a foundation deposit in order to give luck and to protect the structure itself and the people that lived within the structure,” Levy told CBN News.

Levy said the lamp could be filled with oil and lit but it’s rare because it’s made as a half of lamp and they didn’t find the other half.

“You can, theoretically take the other half and connect it and it will appear as a full face or you can put it on a wall, just this half and to light it,” Levy explained.

Another unique thing about the lamp is that because of the

“But this is more than this, it’s very symbolic, the shape itself and also the location where it was found, which gives it the significance and the symbolism,” he said.

“The people that lived there needed the water. But they needed to protect the way to the water, and they needed to protect the protectors,” he added. “It’s very exciting. You will not find a find like this every day, not every year, not every decade. It’s like a one-time occasion.”

According to Levy, archaeologists have uncovered about 40 meters (130 feet) of the Roman building and they’ll keep digging, hoping maybe to find the other half of the lamp.

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Steve Martin

STEVE & LAURIE MARTIN - LOVE FOR HIS PEOPLE FOUNDERS My good wife Laurie and I (43 years in October 2020!), through the ministry of Love For His People we founded in 2010, give love and support for our friends in Israel and in other nations with friendship, humanitarian aid, and social media support, along with Steve's NOW THINK ON THIS messages, and our Ahava Adventures annual trips to Israel. Steve has also authored and published 31 books. We live in the Charlotte, NC area, along with four adult children, spouses, and eight grandkids.

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