Archaeologists uncovered a 2,000-year-old podium in Jerusalem near the Temple Mount, and though antiquities experts are thrilled by the find, it's purpose is a mystery.
Nahshon Szanton and Joe Uziel, the archaeologists who directed the excavation of an ancient roadway from Siloam to Temple Mount, called the podium's discovery unprecedented, according to the Jerusalem Post
"The structure exposed is unique," Szanton and Uziel said in a statement on the Israel Antiquities Authority website
. "To date such a structure has yet to be found along the street in the numerous excavations that have taken place in Jerusalem and to the best of our knowledge outside of it."
"For this reason, its exact use remains enigmatic. The structure is built along the street in a place that is clearly visible from afar by passers-by making their way to the temple. We believe the structure was a kind of monumental podium that attracted the public's attention when walking on the city’s main street," they said..
Szanton and Uziel said building stones that created the podium were used for public purposes during the Second Temple Period.
"It would be very interesting to know what was said there 2,000 years ago," they said. "Were messages announced here on behalf of the government? Perhaps news or gossip, or admonitions and street preaching – unfortunately we do not know."
Two British archaeologists originally discovered a small portion of this structure about 100 years ago, initially thinking it was steps into a house that was destroyed, according to Szanton and Uziel.
The ancient street found during the excavation was preserved well and created with huge stone slabs, likely built in the fourth decade of the first century. The archaeologists said it was probably one of the largest construction projects undertaken in Jerusalem during the Second Temple Period, reported the Post.
"The street most likely runs above the 2,000-year-old drainage channel, discovered a number of years ago, which carried rain water out of the city," said Szanton and Uziel.
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