Archaeologists Uncover Route to Temple Mount

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologists have been excavating a stepped street south of the Temple Mount, believed to have been the path used by pilgrims during Second Temple times to ascend to the holy site.

The path connects the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount.

The City of David excavation, financed by the Elad foundation in cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority, is being jointly led by Haifa University archaeologist Prof. Roni Reich and IAA archaeologist Eli Shukrun.

"[This is] where Second Temple pilgrims began their ascent by foot," Prof. Reich said.

"This is the southern tip of the street, a section of which is exposed along the western side of the Temple Mount.

In a three-year excavation more than a century ago, British archaeologists Frederick Bliss and Archibald Dickie uncovered the route to the Temple Mount. After excavating the passages to their satisfaction, they reburied the street to protect it.

Two other digs, one in 1937 and another conducted from 1961 to 1967 excavated portions of the route, recovering the street to preserve it until it could be further explored.

Two years ago, IAA archaeologists uncovered a drainage canal near the route to the Temple Mount.

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