The 3 unearthed ancient underground chambers, carved into the bedrock beneath Jerusalem Western Wall, is an epic discovery.
This chamber has an open courtyard and 2 rooms, carved on top of one another and connected via a hewn staircase. Also, the archaeologists found oil lamps cores, clay cooking vessels, a stone mug and a large stone basin – used to hold water for rituals.
“This is a unique finding. This is the first time a subterranean system has been uncovered adjacent to the Western Wall,” said Dr Barak Monnickendam-Givon and Tehila Sadiel, Israel Antiquity Authority co-directors in a press release Tuesday.
The archaeologists are also uncovering new parts of a sprawling network of ancient subterranean passageways.
This mysterious chamber is located at approx 120 feet away from the Haram al-Sharif or Temple Mount. A diverse array of civilizations are motivated to conquer and occupy the 35 acres.
“Besides from burials, we have rarely found any complete rock-cut rooms from that era. Most people in ancient Jerusalem lived in stone-built houses. What was the function of this hewn system just under the street level? Was it a house, a storage unit? Something else?” says Monnickendam-Givon.
These chambers were discovered beneath the entrance lobby to the Western Wall Tunnels in the Beit Strauss Complex.
“We’re asking ourselves what was the function of this very complex rock-cut system?” says Barak. He adds “Another possibility is that this system was used for hiding during the siege on Jerusalem 2000 years ago when the Roman legions conquered the city.”
The underground excavation is taking place 20 feet below the Western Wall plaza. The archaeologists are trying to figure out a more complete picture of daily life in Jerusalem before 70 A.D. Also, the archaeologists are planning to study more about the Byzantine building, sat atop these mysterious chambers.