Israel | The discovery of a 2,100-year-old Greek castle

(Jerusalem) Israeli archaeologists on Tuesday uncovered the ruins of an ancient fortified Greek temple dating back about 2,100 years that was “destroyed” during the Maccabean Revolt, a Jewish rebellion in Judea against the Seleucid dynasty.


Excavations revealed a building measuring 15 by 15 meters, with stone walls less than 3 meters high, surrounding a building about five meters high and divided into seven rooms, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Archaeologists immediately discovered weapons, charred wooden beams and dozens of ancient coins at the same location on a hill in the Lachish Forest, about sixty kilometers south of Jerusalem.

β€œIt appears that we have discovered a building that was part of a series of fortifications established by the leaders of the Greek army, in order to protect the great Greek city of Maresha from attack by the Hasmoneans,” the Judean dynasties indicated to the directors of the excavations in a joint statement.

However, the findings at the site show that the defense of the Seleucids (a Greek dynasty that at the time dominated much of the Middle East) was not successful. The Hasmoneans burned the building and destroyed it.”

They argue that these items “show concrete evidence of the stories of Hanukkah,” one of the most important Jewish holidays to be observed this year from November 28.

The Maccabean Revolt led to the capture of Jerusalem, the re-establishment of Jewish worship in the Temple in Jerusalem, and the Hasmonean dynasty that ruled Judea until about 40 BC. J.-C.

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However, the return to Jewish rituals inside the Temple, the most sacred place in Judaism, is rightly celebrated on the Jewish feast of Hanukkah.

Archaeological research remains a sensitive topic in Israel and the Palestinian Territories where the results of works are sometimes used by associations or parties to base their claims on places of memory, disputed lands, or ancient stories.

Israeli Construction Minister Ze’ev Elkin on Tuesday welcomed the “wonderful discoveries” that “prove” the story of Hanukkah.

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