From the Jerusalem Post:

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition submitted against the Israel Antiquities Authority by residents of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, concerning excavations being conducted at the City of David archeological park in the neighborhood’s Wadi Hilweh section.
The petition, which was the second of its kind submitted by residents – and dismissed by the court – within the last week, alleged that the excavations were being done without the proper permits and were encroaching on the residents’ private property. Residents also complained that the archeological projects had damaged their homes.
The IAA, however, claimed that the residents were being “incited by other figures whose considerations are political and improbable,” and maintained that the excavations were of the utmost importance.
One of the excavations is being conducted next to the Givati parking lot, which is located south of the Old City’s southern wall, at the entrance to Silwan. According to the IAA, numerous layers of antiquities have been revealed during the excavation, including a “very impressive” structure that was likely a public building dating back to the late Roman period.
Remains from the early Islamic period have also been uncovered, as well as remains from the Second Temple period. According to the IAA, “all of the remains were scientifically excavated, through meticulous work, while photographing and documenting everything.”
The second excavation, which was the subject of the residents’ most recent petition, exposed a drainage channel structure from the Second Temple period that extends over a distance of many dozens of meters. According to the IAA, “the structure is surprisingly well preserved, and one can walk through it upright, for most of its length. The excavators were aware of the structure’s existence; nevertheless, the segment that was excavated was only recently exposed.”

The full article is here.

HT: Joe Lauer


A large ritual bathing installation from the 1st century A.D. has been excavated in the Western Wall Tunnels.  From Arutz-7:

It is located about 30 meters past the entrance to the Tunnels, in the general direction of the Western Wall. Once it becomes open to the public, the 11 broad steps leading down to the mikveh will be seen approximately 8 meters below floor level.
Josephus, the famous turncoat general and historian of the period, wrote that the administrative and governmental center of Jerusalem was located at the foot of the Temple, and that among the buildings there were the National Council and the Lishkat HaGazit, Chamber of Hewn Stone, where the Sanhedrin – Israel’s Supreme Court – convened. The archaeologists feel that it is possible that the luxurious hall aside the mikveh was originally one of these structures.
Archaeologist Alexander Ohn,  the director of the dig, explains: “It is interesting to note that in the middle of the first century, changes were made in the grand structure. It was no longer used for public administrative purposes, and in its western wall a large mikveh was installed – with 11 steps descending into the immersion pool. It appears that Jerusalem was growing at this time, and with it the need to provide a solution for the increasing numbers of people who came en masse to Jerusalem, especially on the pilgrimage festivals (Passover (Pesach), Pentecost (Shavuot), and Tabernacles (Sukkot)). Ritual immersion in a mikveh and precise observance of the laws of purity were an inseparable part of Jewish life at this time; the importance of a mikveh, especially in this location, was great.”

The complete article is here.  The Israel Antiquities Authority press release (temporary link) includes two high-resolution photos (zip).

UPDATE: Joe Lauer notes some additional photos in this brief AP article.

UPDATE (9/26): Leen Ritmeyer has written an illustrated post about the discovery, including clarification of some portions of the JPost article.