Mysterious Podium Uncovered Near Temple Mount

Bible and archaeology news


Excavation codirector Joe Uziel sits on the mysterious stepped podium uncovered in the City of David. Photo: Shai Halevy, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority

A pyramid-stepped structure was recently uncovered in Jerusalem’s City of David—in the Jerusalem Walls National Park. Found along the stepped street that led from the Siloam Pool to the Temple Mount during the Second Temple period, the structure is approximately 2,000 years old. Its exact function, however, is uncertain.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced the discovery at a recent conference. Archaeologists Nahshon Szanton and Dr. Joe Uziel—who lead the IAA excavation at the Jerusalem Walls National Park—believe the structure is a monumental podium, but since there are no parallels for this structure, their identification is not positive. They explain their position in a statement issued by the IAA:

The structure exposed is unique. To date such a structure has yet to be found along the street in the numerous excavations that have taken place in Jerusalem and to the best of our knowledge outside of it. For this reason, its exact use remains enigmatic. The structure is built along the street in a place that is clearly visible from afar by passers-by making their way to the Temple. We believe the structure was a kind of monumental podium that attracted the public’s attention when walking on the city’s main street. It would be very interesting to know what was said there 2,000 years ago. Were messages announced here on behalf of the government? Perhaps news or gossip, or admonitions and street preaching—unfortunately we do not know.

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While there are no archaeological parallels for this structure, rabbinic sources might offer insight into its purpose. Several rabbinic sources mention “stones” that served public purposes during the Second Temple period. For example, the Mishnah and the Talmud both reference a place in Jerusalem called the Stone of Claims:

Our Rabbis taught: There was a Stone of Claims in Jerusalem: Whoever lost an article repaired thither, and whoever found an article did likewise. The latter stood and proclaimed, and the former submitted his identification marks and received it back. And in reference to this we learnt: Go forth and see whether the Stone of Claims is covered. (Bava Metzia 28b)

Whether the recently discovered podium functioned like the Stone of Claims or not, it is certainly an exciting discovery. We hope that future excavations in Jerusalem will shed more light on this mysterious structure.


Related reading in Bible History Daily:

The Stones of Herod’s Temple Reveal Temple Mount History

The Temple Mount in the Herodian Period (37 BC–70 A.D.)

The Siloam Pool: Where Jesus Healed the Blind Man


9 Responses

  1. Jose Oliver says:

    As per dream, Jesus wil arise on the said Pyramid podium as he gather people on his second coming… he will ride a horse at his back following large no. of people a follower, on his right and left hand a boy and a girl..

  2. Nev Dowli says:

    See Jeremiah 20: 1-2. Possibly the location of the stocks in the high gate of Benjamin?

  3. Brent Dawes says:

    The best source for revealing what the podium was used for seems to have been overlooked, the Bible. My bet is that this podium was built by Solomon if indeed it is situated in the centre of the courtyard. 2 Chronicles 6:13 “(for Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court; and he stood on it, knelt down on his knees before all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven);” I wouldn’t be surprised if this podium was five cubits long, five cubits wide and three cubits high.

  4. Miguel Henriquez says:

    Pool of Siloam! How crazy can you get when you’re lost!
    Try again with better geographic references.
    Might as well call it the Ottoman Vizier’s side entrance to the Roman Forum.

  5. Dwight Davis says:

    It’s the steps to the Mikvah, pool of Siloam. Too obvious.

  6. Paul Ballotta says:

    It reminds me of the scene in the film “Life of Brian* with the crazy prophets.

  7. Sarah Pamela Coulter says:

    Firmly I believe Christ stood upon this place, there is no question in my heart. Praise the Lord !

  8. Dr.Howard Davis says:

    Perhaps Jesus stood atop at times and spoke to the people! He may have themed his speech the ‘lost’ sheep if this place was used to announced lost items.

  9. Manuel says:

    I KNEW IT!… it is the ‘Proclaimers Stand’!..

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