Archaeologists in Jerusalem have made an exciting new discovery that provides evidence of the city’s history. Workers digging at the City of David archaeological site found fragments of ceramic roof tiles from the 2nd century BC.

This time period was under the rule of the Seleucid Empire, a Greek kingdom based in Syria.

The tile fragments were discovered among ruins in the parking lot of the national park. Archaeologists date them to around 168 BC, during the reign of King Antiochus IV of Syria.

Antiochus built a large fortress in Jerusalem called the Acra, which housed Greek soldiers, to help control the city.

Roof tiles were first made and used widely in ancient Greece. They were very effective at keeping out rain compared to earlier roofing methods.

But tiles did not appear in the region of Israel for almost 500 years after being invented in Greece. It was Antiochus IV who introduced the technology of tile roofs when he constructed the Acra fortress.

The archaeologists believe soldiers from Antiochus’ army brought tile roofing skills from Seleucid Syria, so finding these early tiles in Jerusalem provides physical evidence of Greek presence from this time period.

The tiles would have been part of buildings inside the fortress, but more research on them may help archaeologists learn more about the exact location of the legendary Acra.

These archaeological remains give us a glimpse into Jerusalem’s history under Seleucid rule in the 2nd century BC. The tile fragments are an exciting link to the story of Hanukkah and the Maccabean Revolt against King Antiochus IV nearly 2,200 years ago.


Israel Antiquities Authority

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