Archaeologists have announced that they think they have found one of the greatest ancient finds in all of the Middle East, and have therefore solved one of the Bible’s biggest mysteries.
According to Conservative Tribune, researchers say they have found the Acra, which was a Greek fortress that was used to control the biblical city of Jerusalem and the ancient temple there.
The Acra had been a mystery to archaeologists for centuries, since the base of it remained undiscovered despite it’s importance to the Maccabean revolt and Greek control of Jerusalem. Legend has it that it was built by Seleucid ruler Antiochus Epiphanes when the empire took over Jerusalem in 168 B.C.
The remains of the fortress was found under a Jerusalem parking lot after over a century of searching and ten years of excavation. The Israel Antiquities Authority boasted that evidence of the fortress they have discovered include a “massive” wall, a 13-foot by 66-foot tower, and a glascis, which is a defensive structure of sorts.
A glascis is described as a slope designed to make things harder for attackers, and the one they found at the fortress was “composed of layers of soil, stone and plaster, designed to keep attackers away from the base of the wall” and it “constituted an additional obstacle in the citadel’s defenses.”
“Historical sources state the stronghold was occupied by mercenaries and Hellenized Jews and tell of the suffering Jerusalem’s residents were exposed to at the hands of the Acra’s inhabitants,” the IAA said. “The fortification’s mighty defenses withstood all attempts at conquering it, and it was only in 141 BCE, after a prolonged siege and the starvation of the Greek garrison within the Acra that Simon Maccabeus was able to force its surrender.”
Researchers also found weapons with the insignia of Antiochus Epiphanes.
“This sensational discovery allows us for the first time to reconstruct the layout of the settlement in the city, on the eve of the Maccabean uprising in 167 BCE,” said excavators Dr. Doron Ben-Ami, Yana Tchekhanovets and Salome Cohen in a joint statement.
“The numerous coins ranging in date from the reign of Antiochus IV to that of Antiochus VII and the large number of wine jars (amphorae) that were imported from the Aegean region to Jerusalem, which were discovered at the site, provide evidence of the citadel’s chronology, as well as the non-Jewish identity of its inhabitants,” they added.
What do you think about this miraculous find? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.