Archaeologists working to clear a 2,000-year-old drainage tunnel running beneath the Old City of Jerusalem have discovered two exceedingly rare objects: a Roman sword with its leather scabbard preserved, and a small stone engraved with what may be an early depiction of the Temple menorah. The Roman sword, only the third ever found in Jerusalem, is 2 feet along and still has some of its original decoration and leather scabbard preserved. Israeli archaeologist Ronny Reich, who helps direct the excavations, believes the sword likely belonged to a Roman infantryman stationed in Jerusalem during the First Jewish Revolt (66–70 C.E.).
The small stone etched with a menorah was also found near the drainage channel excavations. “The importance of the etching,” said Reich, “is the depiction of the base of the menorah, which clarifies what the original base of the menorah looked like: a quadrapod resting on a frame that was on the floor.” Reich and fellow archaeologist Eli Shukron believe the menorah may have been carved by someone who had seen the actual Temple menorah with their own eyes.