Tuesday, October 06, 2009
'Hall of Ages' uncovered within Western Wall tunnels
JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
As police forces guarded the closed-off Temple Mount Monday, a group of visitors accompanied by a Jewish-Ukrainian philanthropist toured Jerusalem's Western Wall tunnels.
The affluent Ukrainian's donation to the archaeological project made possible the rehabilitation of a Second Temple-era hall which was recently unearthed in the bowels of the Old City. Although the new hall was originally discovered decades ago, it lay untouched for years due to fears that the ancient stones were not stable enough for excavation. A new technique was found to support the walls from crumbling, enabling workers to remove the rubble.
A new concrete roof was erected in the site, which is not yet open to the public, as was an iron support structure.
After digging six meters deep, workers on the site discovered historical artifacts from the First and Second Temple eras. The large room was aptly named the "Hall of Ages."
One man who took part in the excavation project told Channel Two that those visiting the room would step on low ground deep inside the tunnels and "suddenly comprehend the dimensions of Second Temple-era Jerusalem."
Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz stressed that the new hall was not located underneath the Temple Mount and that no excavations were underway in that location, in accordance with halacha (Jewish law).
Work at the site is nearing completion, and the "Hall of Ages" will be opened to the public within a few months.
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