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Jerusalem's Greek Fort of Acra Finally Pinpointed, Excavated

Image: Jerusalem's Greek Fort of Acra Finally Pinpointed, Excavated
Lead sling stones and bronze arrowheads stamped with the symbol of the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. (Copyright: Clara Amit, courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority)

By    |   Thursday, 05 Nov 2015 06:20 AM

Jerusalem's Greek Fort of Acra, dating back some 2,000 years, finally has been located by archaeologists – under a parking lot – and is now being uncovered.

Long known about but never found, the fort was discovered during excavations in the City of David National Park, said Israel's Antiquities Authority on Wednesday. The fort was believed to have been built during the time of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who needed it after forcibly taking Jerusalem and enforcing Greek rule, said the Huffington Post UK.

"The parking lot excavations in the City of David National Park have been ongoing for a decade," said the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement on Tuesday. "The Elad Foundation, which operates the national park, is funding the extensive excavations. The Givati excavation continues to uncover numerous artifacts from more than 10 different ancient cultures from Jerusalem's history."

"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 archaeologists Doron Ben-Ami, Yana Tchekhanovets and Salome Cohen.

Hellenic rule outlawed Jewish practices and controlled the Jewish Temple until a Jewish rebel army led by the Maccabees won it back, noted the Post. The Maccabees are viewed as heroes in Judaism and Christianity and Hanukkah commemorates Mattathias and his five sons who fought against Hellenic rule.

"Over the past 100 years of archaeological research in Jerusalem numerous theories have been put forth identifying the location of the Acra," said the foreign ministry. "The uncertainty stemmed from the paucity of architectural remains that can be traced to the Greek presence in Jerusalem."

Recently, archaeologists found what they believed to evidence of the fort's wall section on a City of David hill, which turned out to be the base of a tower. Researchers also found lead sling shots, bronze arrowheads and ballista stones at the location.

"The new archaeological finds indicate the establishment of a well-fortified stronghold that was constructed on the high bedrock cliff overlooking the steep slopes of the City of David hill. This stronghold controlled all means of approach to the Temple atop the Temple Mount, and cut the Temple off from the southern parts of the city."


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Jerusalem's Greek Fort of Acra, dating back some 2,000 years, finally has been located by archaeologists – under a parking lot – and is now being uncovered.
jerusalem, greek, fort, acra
391
2015-20-05
Thursday, 05 Nov 2015 06:20 AM
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