New Jerusalem discovery may evidence starvation during Roman siege
The first-century Jewish historian Josephus wrote that Judean rebels interrogated their fellow Jews and ransacked homes in frantic search of food. The Jews would hastily eat their food in hidden spaces in their homes to prevent the rebels from stealing their meager provisions (The Jewish Wars, 5.424–428). The finds discovered by the IAA in the cistern near Robinson’s Arch seem to corroborate Josephus’s description. According to excavation director Eli Shukron, “The complete cooking pots and ceramic oil lamp indicate that the people went down into the cistern where they secretly ate the food that was contained in the pots, without anyone seeing them.” It is not hard to imagine that in such desperate times, Jerusalem residents would have left their cookware in the cistern in order to hide the evidence of their meals.
This summer, the Jezreel Valley Regional Project teamed up with Israeli archaeologist Yotam Tepper to expose a Roman camp just south of Tel Megiddo known as Legio. In a web-exclusive report, directors Matthew J. Adams, Jonathan David and Yotam Tepper describe the first archaeological investigation of a second-century C.E. Roman camp in the Eastern Roman Empire.
BAS Library members: Read more about Josephus and the First Jewish Revolt:
Steve Mason, “Will the Real Josephus Please Stand Up?” Biblical Archaeology Review, September/October 1997.
Ehud Netzer, “The Last Days and Hours at Masada,” Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 1991.
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