Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), archaeologists for two years have undertaken excavations of the Western Wall tunnels in Jerusalem, the goal was to date Wilson’s Arch. They have unearthed an ancient Roman 200-seat theater and massive eight stone course (layers of cut stone) of the Western Wall.
Archaeologists are one step closer to solving the riddle of what took place in Jerusalem following the destruction of the city by Romans in 70 CE. TimesOfIsrael
The theater was built following the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
The excavation was done below Wilson’s Arch which is adjacent to the men’s section of the Western Wall. The top is still visible today
It once spanned 42 feet (13 m), supporting a road that continued for 75 feet (23 m) and allowed access to a gate that was level with the surface of the Temple Mount during the time of Jesus. Bible-History
In the 1860s, British surveyor and archaeologist Charles William Wilson was the first to seek such a theater in the vicinity of the Western Wall. The small 200- to 300-seat theater, whose existence is noted by Josephus Flavius and other ancient sources but which has eluded Jerusalem excavations for some 150 years, is the first rediscovered example of a Roman public building in Jerusalem, archaeologists said.
In 70 CE, the Second Temple was razed along with most of the Jewish settlement of Jerusalem. In its place, the Roman colony Aelia Capitolina was established and named after the Roman god Jupiter and the emperor Hadrian (also known as Aelius), who began reconstructing the city in 130 CE. Following the bloody Bar Kochba Revolt of circa 132–136 CE, Jews were banned from the capital aside from on Tisha B’Av, a day of mourning commemorating the destruction of the Temple…
Built in a classical Roman style, the theater is located under Wilson’s Arch, which serves as its roof. The arch is the only visible, extant structure remaining from the Temple Mount compound. During the Second Temple period, the arch was used as a walkway-bridge for worshipers entering the compound. The space under the Wilson’s Arch pedestrian bridge was used for a road, shops, and water drainage, said archaeologists.
The area under the arch was damaged in a massive earthquake circa 360 CE. Jerusalem residents, concerned the arch would collapse, deliberately covered the spacious area with dirt and debris — thereby also covering all remnants of the theater for some 1,650 years. The latest date on an excavated coin is 380 CE, said archaeologist Solomon.
Online: TimesOfIsrael – Massive section of Western Wall and Roman theater uncovered after 1,700 years
Video: Amazing Western Wall Discovery: New Section, Ancient Theater, Uncovered in Jerusalem