Roman-era Jewish town uncovered by Jerusalem light railway work

The ruins in Shuafat, northern Jerusalem, date from Emperor Trajan, after the destruction of the Second Temple.

Infrastructure work for the Jerusalem Light Railway uncovered a Roman-era Jewish community in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat. The Israel Antiquities Authority is conduction rescue excavations of the site. The infrastructure work is for the second part of the railway line to the neighborhood of Neve Yaakov.

The Jewish town dates from the period immediately after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. A 400-dunam (100-acre) area of the town has been uncovered, including a network of streets and alleys, public buildings, residences, and mikvot. The town is east of the Roman road from Jerusalem to Nablus, and is the largest Jewish town discovered in the proximity of Jerusalem from this time.

Archeologist Rachel Bar-Natan, who is responsible for the dig, said stone vessels and coins, including a rare gold coin minted with the Emperor Trajan (reign: 98-117 CE), have been found. “This is the second coin of its kind found in archeological excavations in Israel,” she said. The excavation demonstrates that a fairly large Jewish community remained in the area of Jerusalem until Roman military rule, and that Jews apparently continued to maintain religious practices.

Moriah - Jerusalem Development Corporation Ltd., which is responsible for the infrastructure work for the light railway, told “Globes” that the rescue dig would not delay work on the first line of the railway, due to open in 2009.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on April 1, 2007

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2007

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