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Archaeological Park

The Jerusalem Archaeological Park reveals the remains dating back to the Second Temple period.  Visitors can enter the Ophel and ascend the ancient staircase to the Hulda Gate, which led to the Temple Mount.  On another side of the park, an ancient marketplace, ritual baths, and Robinson’s Arch were discovered.  The Davidson Center is in this Archaeological Park.

the entrance of the Ophel

This is the entrance to the southern wall of the second-period Temple Mount. 

 

an ancient staircase

The staircase in the middle is the original, dating back to the Second Temple period.  It leads up to the Double Gate (marked by half of an arch at the left-hand, middle corner). This is where the pilgrims and residents of Jerusalem, including Jesus and His disciples, would enter and exit the Temple platform.  According to Middot 1:3, the Mishnah tells us that there are two Hulda gates at the south end for entry and exit (SJTM 61).

a triple gate

The three arches of the Triple Gate can still be identified, and have been sealed since the gate was rebuilt in the 7th century.  In the Second Temple period, a Triple Gate could also reach the Temple platform.  It was used by the priests to reach the storerooms where the wine, oil, flour, and other items were kept for the Temple service (SJTM 45). 

 

Full view of the southern wall

The Double and Triple Gates on the southern wall of the Second Temple period are incorrectly referred to as the Hulda Gates.  According to Middot 2:1, only the Double Gate itself provided for the entry and exit of pilgrims and was the Huldah Gates.

full view of the ophel city wall complex

This city wall complex was at the Ophel of the First Temple period.  The excavation site discovered an inner gatehouse for access into the royal quarter of the city.  A corner tower, and a royal structure were also discovered near the gatehouse.

 

the gate house

An inner gatehouse for access into the royal structure of the city was discovered.  This gatehouse has six-meter high walls and was built during the period of the First Temple.  The typical First Temple style of this gate house has four identical small rooms like the cities of Ashdod, Beersheba, and Megiddo.

the davidson center

Visitors can watch a film at this Center showing the activities that took place around the Temple Mount during the Second Temple period.

robinson's arch

Robinson’s Arch was discovered by the “father of Biblical geography,” Edward Robinson, in the 19th century CE.  The Arch and the stone wall below the Arch were built in the Second Temple period.  The spring and the piers of the Arch supported a platform for entering into the Temple Mount.  Before its destruction in 70 CE, there was a stairway that ascended over Robinson’s Arch to the Royal Stoa which Herod the Great built on the southern end of the Temple Mount.  It was probably from this Royal Stoa that Jesus drove out all who sold and bought in the Temple.

In Matthew 21:12-13 Jesus Cleanses the Temple

12  Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.  13  He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a den of robbers.”

the place of the trumpeting

Atop the Temple Mount walls, above the southwest corner, there was a designated place for a priest to stand and to blow the trumpet for announcing the beginning or end of the Sabbath.

According to The Jewish War, Josephus said: “Above the roof of the priests’ Chambers, it was the custom for one of the priests to stand and to give notice, by sound of trumpet, in the afternoon of the approach, and on the following evening of the close, of every seventh day, announcing to the people the respective hours for ceasing work and for resuming their labors.”

second temple period pavement

This is the main, north-south street in Herod the Great’s time.  On the left-hand side, there is evidence of commercial activities.  Weights, coins, and stone vessels were found in four small cells (shops).

*Photo was contributed by Dr. Rasmussen.

ritual baths

Ritual Baths were discovered in the Western Wall and Southern Wall excavations.   These were used by the pilgrims before entering the Temple.

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