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Archaeologists Discover How Rome Defeated Jerusalem's Defenses


The site where Roman soldiers breached Jerusalem's outer defenses, allowing the army to capture the city and destroy the Second Temple has been discovered, archaeologists say.

Roman emperor Titus besieged Jerusalem in A.D. 70 after the Jewish people rose up in revolt of the empire.

Recently disclosed excavations reveal a section of what is called the "third wall" of Jerusalem, which is believed to be the location where the army gained entrance.

Large ballista stones--used for crossbows--covered the ground in the area and archaeologists say it suggests that the area had been under heavy fire from the Romans.

"This is a fascinating testimony of the intensive bombardment by the Roman army, led by Titus, on their way to conquering the city and destroying the Second Temple," the excavation directors, Rina Avner and Kfir Arbib, told the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

"The bombardment was intended to attack the sentries guarding the wall and provide cover for the Roman forces so they could approach the wall with battering rams and thereby breach the city's defenses," they added.

The uncovered section of wall is said to be 6.2 feet wide. Pottery and the remains of a watchtower were also discovered at the site, suggesting the battlefield dates back to Roman times.

Debates regarding evidence of the "third wall" date back to 1838.

The new discoveries will be presented next week at the New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and its Region conference.

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