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Unusual Ancient Stone Box from City of David on Display, a ‘Distinctly Jerusalem Find’

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JERUSALEM, Israel — The antiquities parade continues in Jerusalem‘s city of David, where the Israel Antiquities Authority has just put on public display an unusual stone box from the time of the Second Temple nearly 2,000 years ago.

The box, to be featured at Jerusalem‘s Israel Museum, looks like an ancient limestone waffle, measuring almost 1 foot in length and width, with nine compartments.

Burn marks on the sides tell scientists it was exposed to a fire of some kind, indicating evidence of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

Dr. Yuval Baruch and Ari Levy, working For the Israel Antiquities Authority, said of the discovery, “During the excavations of the Pilgrimage Road where the box was discovered, many objects have been found, testament to the flourishing commercial activity that took place along the road during the Second Temple period.”

“During the excavations, they explained, “we uncovered ceramic and glass vessels, production and cooking facilities, various measuring tools, stone weights, and cans.”

Baruch and Levy noted, “These objects suggest that the road was connected to commercial activities, such as a lively urban market. The Pilgrimage Road connecting the pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount was the main thoroughfare of the city 2000 years ago.”

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The archaeologists believe the stone box is connected to that commercial activity and was “related to the unique Jerusalem economy conducted in the shadow of the Temple, maintaining strict, observance, and security laws.”

“Therefore, they stated, “we can consider this box a distinctly Jerusalem find.”

Pieces of a similar box were found 50 years ago by Nachman Avigad in the Jewish quarter. He called it a “nuts and seeds bowl.”

The latest box is the only complete example found so far. The box was uncovered in a destruction layer inside an ancient store.

Dudi Mevorah, senior curator of the archaeology department at the Israel Museum, said, “We placed the stone box on permanent display, together with spectacular colorful frescoes, chandeliers and magnificent pottery, stone and metal vessels from Jerusalem’s luxury houses dating to the second temple period.”

He added, “you are invited to come and see them.”

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About The Author


John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN New since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.