The first-ever Hasmonean structure in Israel was discovered recently, as Jews around the world celebrate Hanukkah and the Hasmonean dynasty’s victory over the Syrian Greek army.
The ancient structure was uncovered in Jerusalem, during a dig carried out next to the walls of the Old City. News of the find was announced this week by the Israeli Antiquities Authority.
The walls of the structure measure more than three feet wide and 13 feet tall, and are made from limestone blocks. Several pieces of Hasmonean pottery were also discovered within the walls of the site.
Additionally, coins found in the structure indicate it was built at the start of the 2nd century BCE and was used far into the Hasmonean period, which lasted from 140 BCE to 37 BCE.
“The importance of this discovery is primarily because of the conspicuous paucity of buildings from the Hasmonean city of Jerusalem in archaeological research, despite the many excavations that have been conducted to date,” said excavation directors Dr. Doron Ben Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets.
“Apart from several remains of the city’s fortifications that were discovered in different parts of Jerusalem, as well as pottery and other small finds, none of the Hasmonean city’s buildings have been uncovered so far, and this discovery bridges a certain gap in Jerusalem’s settlement sequence.
“The Hasmonean city, which is well-known to us from the historical descriptions that appear in the works of Josephus, has suddenly acquired tangible expression.”