Ahead of Tisha B’av, Evidence of First Temple Destruction of Jerusalem Unearthed

Ancient Jerusalem model (Beit HaMikdash) HDR edit | by Foucault in Exile

 In the week leading up to the Jewish fast of Tisha B’Av, which mourns the destruction of both Jewish Temples in Jerusalem, evidence of the city’s destruction by the Babylonians during the First Temple era has been discovered in excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

The excavations—funded by the City of David Foundation (Elad), focused on the City of David’s eastern slope and unearthed buildings covered with layers of collapsed stone, believed to be more than 2,600 years old.

Newly discovered shattered jugs that the Israel Antiquities Authority says attest to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Credit: Eliyahu Yanai, courtesy of the City of David Archive.

Archaeologists also found various items in between the collapsed structures, including burned wood, grape seeds, pottery, fish scales, bones and rare artifacts.

The discoveries convey the affluence of Jerusalem thousands of years ago, and serve as proof of the holy city’s destruction by Babylonians, the IAA said Wednesday.

“The excavation’s findings show that Jerusalem had extended beyond the line of the city wall before its destruction,” said IAA excavation directors Ortal Chalaf and Dr. Joe Uziel. “The row of structures exposed in the excavations is located outside beyond the city wall that would have constituted the eastern border of the city during this period.”