Biblical escape tunnel found
ISRAELI archeologists have stumbled upon the site of one of the great dramas of the Roman sacking of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.
The subterranean drainage channel Jews used to escape from the city's conquerors was dug beneath what would become the main road of Jerusalem in the days of the Second Biblical Temple.
The temple was destroyed by the Romans in the year AD70, according to Professor Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa and Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
"It was a place where people hid and fled to from burning, destroyed Jerusalem," Dr Shukron said. "We were looking for the road and suddenly we discovered it."
The channel was buried beneath the rubble of the sacking and the parts that have been exposed have been preserved intact. Several manholes are visible and portions of the original plastering remain.
Pottery shards, vessel fragments and coins from the end of the Second Temple period were discovered inside the channel.
Prof Reich said the discovery of the drainage system was a sign of how the city's rulers looked out for their citizens' welfare, by organising a means to drain rainfall and prevented flooding.
"The discovery shows you planning on a grand scale, unlike other cities in the ancient Near East," said anthropologist Joe Zias, an expert on the Second Temple period, who was not involved in the dig.
It is thought the tunnel leads to the Kidron River, which empties into the Dead Sea.
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