Has Jerusalem’s long lost Ro­man theatre been found?

Timeless Travels Magazine - - ARCHAEOLOG­ICAL NEWS -

Ex­ca­va­tions in Jerusalem have re­cently un­cov­ered a long lost Ro­man theatre.

The pur­pose of the ex­ca­va­tions was to date Wil­son’s Arch, a mas­sive stone struc­ture that once sup­ported a bridge lead­ing to the Tem­ple Mount, dat­ing to be­tween 530 BCE and 70 CE Ar­chae­ol­o­gists thought it might date to the time of King Herod (37 BCE - 4CE).

Ex­ca­va­tors were ex­pect­ing the arch to stand on top of an ear­lier street, but in­stead they found the re­mains of a Ro­man era theatre, a round struc­ture with seat­ing for 200, stairs and a stage.

But the build­ing was not a typ­i­cal large Ro­man theatre, such as the ones found in other sites such as Beit She’an or Cae­sarea, but a rel­a­tively small cov­ered struc­ture.

Its small size has sug­gested to ar­chae­ol­o­gists that this is an odeon rather than a theatre, or pos­si­bly a bouleu­terion – a build­ing where the city coun­cil met. In this case that would have been the coun­cil of the Ro­man colony of Aelia Capi­tolina, the name given to Ro­man Jerusalem.

The strange thing is that it seems as though the theatre was never used. A number of find­ings at the site in­di­cate this, in­clud­ing a stair­case that was never com­pletely hewn. It is clear that great ef­fort was in­vested in the build­ing’s con­struc­tion, but oddly, it was aban­doned be­fore it was put to use.

The ex­ca­va­tions be­neath Wil­son’s Arch also found other unique find­ings in­clud­ing pot­tery ves­sels, coins, ar­chi­tec­tural and ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­ments.

Re­mains of Jerusalem’s Ro­man odeon or bouleu­terion

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