JERUSALEM, Israel – The Israel Antiquities Authority believes it may have found a 2,000-year-old market next to the recently discovered Pilgrimage Road in Jerusalem that Jesus and other Jews once walked on to get to the Second Temple.
The authority announced on Monday that archaeologists have uncovered a large paved area along the Pilgrimage Road leading up to the Second Temple. The open area is believed to have been the main square of Jerusalem’s lower city where a busy market once stood.
(Pictured Above: The Pilgrimage Road at the City of David. Photograph: Kobi Harati, City of David archive)
Researchers uncovered several rare items in the City of David National Park that support their theory.
One of those items is a 2,000-year-old measuring table used for liquid items like wine and olive oil. Experts also found dozens of stone measurement weights in the same vicinity.
"The volume standard table we've found, as well as the stone weights discovered nearby, support the theory that this was the site of vast trade activity, and perhaps this may indicate the existence of a market,” said archaeologist Ari Levi of the Israel Antiquities Authority, one of the directors of the excavations of the Pilgrimage Road.
(Pictured above: A "standart of volumes" table- side view. Photograph: Ari Levi, Israel Antiquities Authorities)
Researchers believe this area was once home to the offices of the "Agoranomos" - the officer in charged supervising measurements and weights in Jerusalem
Prof. Ronny Reich is researching the recent discovery and explained how the ancient measuring table worked.
“In a portion of the ‘standart of volumes’ table uncovered in the City of David, we see two of the deep cavities remain, each with a drain at its bottom. The drain at the bottom could be plugged with a finger, filled with a liquid of some type, and once the finger was removed, the liquid could be drained into a container, therefore determining the volume of the container, using the measurement table as a uniform guideline. This way, traders could calibrate their measuring instruments using a uniform standard,” he said in a statement.
(Pictured above: The bottom part of the measuring table. Photograph: Ari Levi, Israel Antiquities Authorities)
Reich said the measuring table is “a rare find.”
“Other stone artifacts were very popular in Jerusalem during the Second Temple, however so far, excavations in Jerusalem have only uncovered two similar tables that were used for measuring volume - one during the 1970's in the Jewish Quarter excavations, and another in the Shu'afat excavations, in Northern Jerusalem,” he said.
The market and pilgrimage road were found in an area of Jerusalem Levy refers to as the equivalent of “Times Square.”
“You would have had shops, stalls along both sides of the [pilgrimage] road. This is the center of Jerusalem from a spiritual perspective, from a communal perspective, also from a commerce perspective,” Levy told CBN News.
“The places and events and peoples that make Jerusalem, Jerusalem for Christians, for Jews, it all happened here. It happened here in the City of David,” said Zeev Orenstein, Director of International Affairs at the City of David Foundation.
“This is where the beating heart of Jerusalem is. We’re talking about the Pool of Siloam, we’re talking about Mt. Moriah, the Temple Mount. We’re talking about the City of David. The Pilgrimage Road links them all together,” Orenstein told CBN News.