Featured Photo

Ancient Roman theater unearthed in Jerusalem

Archaeologists are calling it a 'sensational find.'


October 16, 2017 | Prev
Joe Uziel, an archaeologist from the Israeli Antiquities Authority, shows journalists a recently discovered ancient Roman theater from the second sanctuary that was found at the foot of the Western Wall tunnels in Jerusalem's Old City on Oct. 16, 2017.Joe Uziel, an archaeologist from the Israeli Antiquities Authority, shows journalists a recently discovered ancient Roman theater from the second sanctuary that was found at the foot of the Western Wall tunnels in Jerusalem's Old City on Oct. 16, 2017.
October 16, 2017

What excavators believe to be Jerusalem's first-ever Roman theater was recently discovered underground near the city's Western Wall.

The discovery of the elegant masonry was a surprise to archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority, who originally began digging in the area to try to date Wilson's Arch, a stone structure they had previously found.

Workers restore a ceiling of the Western Wall near the site where Israeli Antiquity Authority recently discovered the ancient Roman theater. Workers restore a ceiling near the site where Israeli Antiquities Authority recently discovered the ancient Roman theater. (Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

"We did not imagine that a window would open for us onto the mystery of Jerusalem’s lost theater," the excavators said in a statement, adding that the discovery will lead to some exciting conclusions about the uses and objectives of the theater.

It appears to have been able to seat 200 people. The portions of the theater had been hidden for about 1,700 years, archaeologists said. Previously, they had only written records of the theaters and theories about their location, but no actual evidence of them. Until now.

A worker from the Israeli Antiquities Authorities explains the recently discovered theater. A worker from the Israeli Antiquities Authorities explains the recently discovered theater. (Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

"From a research perspective, this is a sensational find," they said. "The discovery was a real surprise."

The other element of surprise in the finding, they said, was that it appears the theater was never actually used. An unfinished staircase was found on the site, indicating that the structure may have been abandoned before it could be used.

"This enables conclusions to be drawn at a level of precision that would have been impossible in the past, transforming the study of the findings at Wilson’s Arch into pioneering, cutting-edge micro-archaeological research," the archaeologists said.

Photos and SlideshowsPhotos and Slideshows

Related Topics: Archaeology

comments powered by Disqus