Researchers in Israel are saying they’ve found the site of Jesus’ trial in Jerusalem.
The news came from excavations conducted by Israeli archaeologists between 1999 and 2000, at a dig site that has been sealed off for 14 years. The site, located in the Old City of Jerusalem, is within easy walking distance of the Christian Quarter and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Excavations at the site included what some believe to be the foundation of King Herod’s palace, where some scholars say Pontius Pilate prosecuted Jesus Christ.
Amit Re’em of the Israel Antiquities Authority said the palace was erected at the end of the first century B.C. This, according to Josephus, the Jewish historian and Roman citizen of the era.
“It was enormous, with a lot of gold and silver and running water and guest quarters,” Re’em said.
The IAA discovered ruins in the spot where Josephus described, and included an elaborate sewage system.
“From early Christianity until Crusader times the Via Dolorosa [Jesus’s crucifixion route] passed by Herod’s palace. Only since medieval times did the route change,” Re’em added.
“For those Christians who care about accuracy in regards to historical facts, this is very forceful,” said Yisca Harani, an expert on Christianity and pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to the Washington Post.
“For others, however, those who come for the general mental exercise of being in Jerusalem, they don’t care as long as [their journey] ends in Golgotha — the site of the Crucifixion.”