Evidence of Rome's Jerusalem Siege Unearthed

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists discovered evidence of the siege in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.

Archaeologists recently uncovered a cistern inside a drainage channel near Robinson's Arch in the Jerusalem Archaeological Park near the Western Wall Plaza.

Excavation director and renowned Israeli archaeologist Eli Shukron said three complete cooking pots and a ceramic oil lamp were found in the small cistern, which is between the Pool of Siloam and the Robinson Arch in the City of David.

The finding is significant, they said.

"This is the first time we are able to connect archaeological finds with the famine that occurred during the siege of Jerusalem at the time of the Great Revolt," Shukron said.

"The complete cooking pots and ceramic oil lamp indicate the people went down into the cistern where they secretly ate the food that was contained in the pots without anyone seeing them, and this is consistent with the account provided by Josephus," he said.

Josephus' book, The Jewish War, describes the Roman siege of Jerusalem as the invaders blockaded the city and defeat its residents by starving them to death.

"As the famine grew worse, the frenzy of the partisans increased with it," the historian wrote. "They shut themselves up in the darkest corners of their houses, where some through extreme hunger ate their grain as it was, others made bread, necessity and fear being their only guides."

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