Minister of Education Reports






In his book, "The Jewish War," Josephus Flavius wrote of "... the king's palace, which no tongue could describe. Its magnificence and equipment were unsurpassable." This glorious palace, astoundingly beautiful and of immense size, was built for King Herod around 23 BCE. Its remains have been unearthed by recent excavations conducted south of David's Tower in the Old City of Jerusalem, in the area of the old Turkish garrison known as the Kishle.

Archaeologists exposed two massive parallel retaining walls - one a median wall, the other an eastern perimeter wall - both of them running along a north-south axis. The walls are for the most part constructed directly on the bedrock. They are approximately 50 meters long and between 1.7 and 1.8 meters thick. Between them is a landfill of dirt and stones that has the objective of raising the natural topography of the area and creating an artificial stage on which the palace was built. Below the two retaining walls is a 7- meter-deep drainage canal, partly carved in the bedrock, partly built up. The canal drained all the wastewater from the palace, toward the valley to the west. The excavators found remains of city wall from the Hasmonean period (second century BCE.) to the west of the two retaining walls, constructed of large carved stone building blocks that are approximately five meters wide.

The head archaeologist on the site says there is no doubt about the identification of the site as Herod's palace. The first reports that he might have found remains of the palace were published four months ago. Since that time, additional evidence has accumulated, and it is now possible to reach certain conclusions. The archaeologist said "In the humble opinion of myself and of many other scholars who are experts in this field, these are Herodian walls." (Ha'aretz)


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