Kohanim Quarter Of Ancient Yerushalayim


Was there a neighborhood of kohanim in Har Tzion, just north of the Old City, where Dovid Hamelech was buried?

Since 2007, University of North Carolina faculty and students have been unearthing a part of Har Tzion which appears to include homes of the elite of the city, perhaps kohanim, during the waning years of the Bayis Sheini.

Haaretz summed up some of the finds which hint that kohanim may have lived there. One dwelling from the Early Roman period had its own cistern, its own mikvah, three bread ovens and part of an ornate window screen, all signs of wealth. The house also had a bathtub hewed from the stone substrate, an item hitherto only found in palaces and in one other Old City house that once housed kohanim.

“It’s clear from the finds that the people living here were wealthy, aristocrats or perhaps even priests,” Prof. Shimon Gibson, co-director of the excavations, told Haaretz.

Lending support to the notion that the house may have belonged to kohanim are pilgrims’ report that the house of Caiaphas, son-in-law of Anas whose seven sons served as kohanim gedolim for decades until the churban Bais Hamikdash, stood a few hundred yards from the site.

At the bottom of the residence’s 28 foot deep cistern , excavators found cooking pots, numerous animal bones and the remains of an oven, leading them to speculate that this may have been one of the hideouts of the last rebels against Rome who, Josephus write, were found dead, mostly of starvation, in various underground chambers of the city.

David Steger – Matzav.com Israel


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