Burnt House and Herodian Quarter

Another stop on Day 8 was “The Burnt House”.  An amazing enough find because this ancient home is dated to Rome’s destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

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While the pictures don’t look like much, these are portions of the basement of this historically anchored house.  A variety of artifacts were found relating to the Jewish rebellion against Rome which ended in the 70 A.D. destruction.  Coins inscribed with “Year Two/Freedom of Zion”, “Year Three/Freedom of Zion”, and “Year Four/The Liberation of Zion” would be coins minted from the year 66 onward before Rome reconquers the area.  A homemade spear was found, likely made by the Zealots to use against Rome as well as the remains of a severed arm of a woman in her 20s.

A variety of other artifacts point to the owners of this home as those following ritual purity laws.  The home, in an area that would give easy access to the Temple has had a stone weight inscribed with “Son of Katros”.  The Katros family shows up by name in history as a family of priests serving in the temple.  The Talmud records, “Woe is me because of the House of Katros, woe is me because of their pen… that they are High Priests, and their sons treasurers, and their son-inlaws administrators and their servants beat the people with sticks.”  A wealthy, powerful, and corrupt family in a position of great authority seems to have met their end in Rome’s fires of destruction right alongside the countrymen of whom they had taken advantage.

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In this same area of town, the remains of other homes of the wealthy and elite of the day have also been found.

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A view of the excavation area in what has become since 1967 the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, built atop these older ruins, some of which are now underneath the modern buildings.

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Some of the period items and utensils found in the homes.

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Another view of the ruins (of course you need to imagine them without the columns supporting the modern buildings above).

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In these pictures you see some of the remaining wall decorations upon the plaster that once covered the rock walls.

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