Under the present Old City of Jerusalem lie layers of history and excavations have been conducted over the years specifically in the area of the Temple Mount in order to learn about the holy structures which stood here. The Southern Wall is the last remaining part of the Second Temple as constructed during Herod’s reign. On the south-west side of the Temple Mount, near the Dung Gate, excavations have uncovered remains that existed in the time of the Second Temple.

On entering the Dung Gate you can see the Archeological Park and the various structures which have been recovered and also visit the Davidson Center. The Second Temple was destroyed in 70AD.

Significant parts of the Southern Wall Excavations

Robinson Arch is what remains of a bridge and stairway which once connected the lower city with the Temple Mount. The arch was just one of the arches supporting the bridge which connected a staircase with the Temple entrance. This route took pilgrims from the city level into the Temple’s south-western entrance. A walkway ran beneath the high arch and vendors would sell their wares there. There were three bridges originally at different points along the outer walls which surrounded the Temple Mount. Robinson Arch was named after the archaeologist who discovered the arch in 1938.

Herodian Way is the paved street which runs beneath Robinson Arch and along the side of the Temple Mount’s outer wall, the street was 13 meters wide. Along the length of one side of the street is the Southern Wall and on the other side of the street is a stone structure with openings which would have been the entrances to stores. This stone wall is constructed with large stones and formed a support for the staircase and bridge above. The street gave researches an insight into the history of Jerusalem at the time of the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans.

A Hebrew inscription saying “To the Trumpeting Place” was found on a stone at the corner of the street. It is believed that the inscription indicated where the trumpeter would stand to herald the onset of Shabbat on a Friday night.

Another find in the Southern Wall Excavations were ritual baths or Mikvah. Worshipers were required to purify themselves before setting foot on the holy Temple Mount. So these mikvot were used by the general public before they entered. The baths meet the religious specifications required by the Holy Scriptures. There are a great number of these baths (almost 50) indicating that they were used by a great number of worshipers, in fact all worshipers, priests, public and anyone else who wished to enter the Temple.

These are only a few examples of the findings visitors can see in the Southern Wall Excavation Site. The excavations are ongoing and new discoveries are still being made which give us a glimpse of life during the Second Temple era.

Other sites in this area

Jerusalem Southern Wall Excavation

Under the present Old City of Jerusalem lie layers of history and excavations have been conducted over the years […]

Citadel Museum

This Museum of the History of Jerusalem is also called the Tower of David Museum and is located in […]

Christian Quarter – Jerusalem Old City

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