Bible and archaeology news
Coins discovered beneath the foundations of Jerusalem’s Western Wall prove that Herod the Great did not even come close to completing construction on the Temple Mount compound. The coins, stamped around 17 C.E. with the name of the Roman proconsul Valerius Gratus, were found inside an earlier ritual bath (mikveh) that had been filled in to support the construction of the Temple Mount’s western wall—some two decades after Herod’s death. The finds tend to confirm the account of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus who records that the entire complex was only completed during the reign of Herod’s great-grandson, Agrippa II, probably around 50 C.E. “The find changes the way we see the construction,” said Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Eli Shukron. “[The coins] show [the Temple Mount’s construction] lasted for longer than we originally thought.”
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