The unification of Jerusalem was an opening shot for the State of Israel to begin to discover via archeological excavations what the depth of the earth has to tell us… 3000 years of history have been revealed to us, and the findings are most exciting!
In 1967, the State of Israel began an enormous archaeological excavations in the Jewish Quarter that was never excavated previously. The diggers had no idea what the level of the findings would be, and in hindsight one can say that they are among the most important and exciting ones found.
The remains of Jerusalem’s 3000 year history were exposed throughout the area.
The burnt house is a nickname for one of the homes of a wealthy Jerusalemite from the time of the Second Temple.
The Burnt House is one of the most moving testimonies of the events that preceded the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE.
During the Second Temple period Jerusalem was built on two adjacent hills. Mount Zion and Mount Moriah. The houses of the nobility of the city of Jerusalem were built on Mount Zion, also known as – “The Western Hill”. Among them were the rich and some were probably priestly families who had become rich. Anyone who could afford to leave the crowded area of Jerusalem to the west and northwest. The houses exposed were of impressive size and a tremendous wealth of items were found during the excavations.
The task of the excavation was assigned to Professor Nachman Avigad. In his book The Upper City, which is considered a must-read book for understanding the excavation process in the Jewish Quarter, Professor Avigad expresses his great excitement over the important findings.
In the burnt house, in a large layer of ash was found a broken stone weight bearing an inscription in contemporary Hebrew script that everyone can read today. “D’Bar Katros”, the inscription was deciphered and interpreted as “of son of Katros”. Such a finding is the fulfillment of every archaeologist’s dream. A weight belonging to the owner of the house inscribed with the name of the tenant. What is special about the name on the weight is that this name appears in the Talmud as the name of one of the 24 priestly families who worked in the Temple during the Second Temple period. Although the name does not appear in a positive context: ‘Woe unto thee from the house of Katros, woe unto me from their pen’. Rashi interprets that they would write letters for the worse. As in they slandered people in writing.
Two other exciting finds were found in the excavations. A metal spear and the remains of a young woman’s arm.
A spectacular audio-visual display in a variety of languages will bring us back in time and bring us into family life in the last days before the fall of the Second Temple. In addition, there is a display of archaeological artifacts found in excavations at the site.