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Archaeologists Unearth Mysterious Stepped Podium In City Of David Jerusalem

Temple Mount Jerusalem

The Antiquities Authority recently uncovered a mysterious well-preserved 2,000-year-old pyramid-shaped staircase on an ancient street in the City of David. The staircase, constructed of large ashlar stones, was unearthed adjacent to the destroyed Second Temple. The discovery was announced on Monday, according to the The Jerusalem Post.

The structure was found during an excavation carried out in cooperation of the Ir David Foundation and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority of an ancient roadway ascending from the Siloam Pool to the Temple Mount.

A discovery like this is unprecedented, according to archaeologists Joe Uziel and Nahshon Szanton. “To date, such a structure has yet to be found along the stepped street in the numerous excavations that have taken place in Jerusalem,” said the two archaeologists, who directed the excavation on behalf of the authority, in a joint statement.

The structure exposed is unique. To date, such a structure has yet to be found along the stepped street in the numerous excavations that have taken place in Jerusalem, and to the best of our knowledge, outside of it.

Archaeologists are stumped as to the purpose of the pyramid-shaped staircase. Discovery News reports that ancient Rabbinic texts refer to stone platforms used as “Stone of Claims” – a sort of lost and found – or  for auctions, but to date nothing like the unearthed staircase or the stone platforms have been discovered in Jerusalem or ancient Israel.

“The purpose of the staircase remains a mystery,” said Uziel and Szanon in their statement.

Given the lack of a clear archaeological parallel to the stepped-structure, the purpose of the staircase remains a mystery. It is certainly possible the rabbinical sources provide valuable information about structures, such as this, although for the time being there is no definitive proof.

Interestingly, a number of artifacts were found at the foot of the ancient staircase, such as glassware, stone vessels, and dozens of intact pottery vessels, reports Fox News.

Given that the structure was found along the street in a place that would be visible to those traveling to Temple, the archaeologists speculate the podium was of importance and meant to attract the attention of the public.

Uziel and Szanton will present their findings at the 16th Annual Conference at the City of David Studies of Ancient Jerusalem on Thursday, September 9.

Earlier this year, an ancient ring inscribed with “for Allah” — unearthed during an excavation a century ago in a Swedish grave — led researchers to explore a connection between Vikings and Islamic civilization.

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