Archeologists find ancient tunnel used by Jews to escape Roman conquest of Jerusalem

From the International Herald Tribune: Archeologists find ancient tunnel used by Jews to escape Roman conquest of Jerusalem.

Israeli archeologists on Sunday said they’ve stumbled upon the site of one of the great dramatic scenes of the Roman sacking of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago: the subterranean drainage channel Jews used to escape from the city’s Roman conquerors.

The ancient tunnel was dug beneath what would become the main road of Jerusalem in the days of the second biblical Temple, which the Romans destroyed in the year 70, the dig’s directors, archaeology Professor Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa and Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority, told a news conference.

The channel was buried beneath the rubble of the sacking, and the parts that have been exposed since it was discovered two weeks ago have been preserved intact.

The walls — ashlar stones one meter (3 feet) deep — reach a height of 3 meters (10 feet) in some places and are covered by heavy stone slabs that were the main road’s paving stones, Shukron said. Several manholes are visible, and portions of the original plastering remain, he said.

Pottery sherds, vessel fragments and coins from the end of the Second Temple period were discovered inside the channel, attesting to its age, Reich said. [continue]

2 thoughts on “Archeologists find ancient tunnel used by Jews to escape Roman conquest of Jerusalem

  1. A fascinating article, but what it fails to mention is that the escape tunnel discovery strikingly confirms University of Chicago historian Norman Golb’s theory, now supported by an entire series of Israeli archaeologists, that the Dead Sea Scrolls are the remains of Jerusalem libraries, smuggled out of the city for hiding during the Roman siege of 70 A.D. In his books and articles, Golb has specifically argued that Jews used tunnels to get the scrolls out and took them down to the Dead Sea region through various wadis including the Kidron, which is precisely where this tunnel is thought to exit (see the last sentence of the article). The famous Copper Scroll found with other scrolls in one of the caves near Qumran describes a deposit of silver as being hidden near the “dam at the mouth of the Kidron gorge.”

    This also puts a spotlight on a current controversy involving a major exhibition of the Scrolls taking place in San Diego. Pursuant to an agreement that violates virtually all of the norms of institutional neutrality, the San Diego Natural History Museum has excluded all of the researchers who have rejected the “Qumran-Essene” theory of scroll origins from participating in its lecture series and, in the exhibit itself, has intentionally misinformed the public concerning the grounds supporting the Jerusalem theory.

    For further information on the controversy surrounding this exhibit, see the posting entitled “Chronology of Dead Sea Scrolls controversy in San Diego” on WordPress, and the articles by Charles Gadda on the Nowpublic site, in particular the one entitled “Christian fundamentalism and the Dead Sea Scrolls in San Diego.”

    Follow Gadda’s links for his other articles too, they expose a truly outrageous scandal.

  2. Golb has posted an article about this tunnel discovery on the Oriental Institute website, with a list of passages from Josephus. Apparently, not only did the archaeologists blunder in stating that Josephus described refugees hiding in this particular tunnel, but they also were not aware that several similarly gigantic tunnels were unearthed in Jerusalem during the 19th century (Golb reproduces four illustrations from a book published in 1876 entitled Underground Jerusalem). It’s really somewhat amazing how the public always ends up being misinformed by amateurishly erroneous declarations coming from archaeologists who simply cannot get their act together and do their homework. The link to Golb’s article is:

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