[ALT] Royal Stoa
Reconstruction of the Royal Stoa in the southern part of the Temple Mount enclosure, draw in 1971 by the expedition's field architect, Brian Lalor.

[ALT] Temple Mount walls
The walls of the Temple Mount, built of enormous ashlar stones with great precision.

[ALT] Aqueduct
The acqueduct beneath the Herodian street running the lenght of the Western Wall, looking north. The walls are hewn from bedrock and the ceiling is constructed stone vaulting.

[ALT] Repertoire of stone vessels

[ALT] Repertoire of stone vessels

[ALT] Repertoire of stone vessels
Repertoire of stone vessels that were used extensively in Jerusalem in the second Temple Period. According to Jewish law, these did not absorb impurities, as was the case with vessels made of other materials.

The Herodian Period (37 BCE-70 CE)

The Roman sovereigns declared Herod king of Judea, and with the aid of the Roman army, he conquered the land in 37 BCE.

After consolidating his rule, Herod turned his talents to building projects and earned his fame as the Builder for his flamboyant building policy. In Jerusalem, he built his palace in the Upper City, along with three large towers nearby. He built the Antonia fortress in the northwestern corner of the Temple Mount, a theater, and an amphitheater. His most prominent endeavor, however, was the construction of the magnificent Temple Mount.

Herod died in 4 BCE and was succeeded by his son Archelaus, who ruled for ten years, until the Roman Emperor Augustus exiled him. Judea then became part of the province of Syria, but separate procurators were appointed to rule the land.

However, the rule of procurators, the heavy taxes, and the frequent affronts to the religious sentiments of the people fanned the flames of revolt. Riots in Jerusalem increased until 70 CE, when the Roman emperor Titus sieged Jerusalem for five months, ending with the destruction of the city and the burning of the Temple.

1. The Walls of the Temple Mount

Herod doubled the area of the Temple Mount courtyards, creating an exceptionally large compound even by the standards of the ancient classical world.

The Temple Mount excavations included the entire length of the southern retaining wall, as well as 75 meters (246 feet) along the southern end of the Western wall, allowing for an in-depth study of the building techniques used in the construction of these walls.

2. The Royal Stoa

The Royal Stoa was built in the form of a basilica and served as a center of public and commercial activity.

Although the Royal Stoa itself was not preserved, a wealth of decorated architectural elements were found attesting to its former grandeur.

3. Robinson’s Arch

Named after the American scholar Edward Robinson, Robinson’s Arch is the remnant of a huge arch which served as part of the foundations for a monumental flight of stairs leading from the main street to the Royal Stoa.

It is located to the north of the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount enclosure.

4. The Herodian Street along the Western Wall

A Herodian street was exposed for 75 meters (246 feet) at the foot of Robinson’s Arch.

This street was the main thoroughfare of Herodian Jerusalem and runs along the entire length of the Western Wall and continues south towards the City of David.

5. The Shops along the Herodian Street

The excavation of the shops lined both sides of the Herodian street, yielded many stone vessels, stone weights, coins, and other characteristic Herodian ceramic vessels.

6. The Post for the Priest Announcing the Sabbath

Near the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount, a large stone was found bearing the inscription “To the trumpeting place to announce”

7. Mazar’s Shaft and the Aqueduct

At the northern end of the excavation area, there is an opening of a shaft that descends to the foundation of the Western Wall. To its west there is a large aqueduct that runs along the western wall.

8. A Herodian Ritual Bath (Miqveh)

Dozens of ritual baths (miqva’ot) dating to the Second Temple period were found throughout the excavation area.

9. The Herodian Street along the Southern Wall

A street running along the length of the Southern Wall and ascending to the Huldah Gates was exposed.

10-13. The Huldah Gates

These blocked gates, named after Huldah the Prophetess, can be seen in the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount and used to open into the magnificent passageways that led up to the inner courtyard of the Temple Mount.

10. A Rock-Cut Channel

This rock-cut channel, which was covered with stone slabs, directed the water-flow from a large cistern on the Temple Mount to the many ritual baths at the foot of the Huldah Gates.

11. The Stairs in front of the Double Gate (the Western Huldah Gate)

These stairs, partly carved into bedrock and partly constructed of smooth, carefully-laid stone slabs, were made to regulate the pace of pilgrims as they approached the holy site.

12. The Double Gate (the Western Huldah Gate)

The Double Gate in the western part of the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount was used as both an entrance and an exit. The gate passageway is completely preserved under the Al-Aqsa Mosque and is accessible from the Temple Mount courtyard.

13. The Triple Gate (the Eastern Huldah Gate)

This was the most magnificent gate, as attested both by Josephus and by the many decorated architectural fragments found in the nearby collapse debris of the gate. The Triple Gate is located in the eastern part of the Southern Wall.

14. The Courthouse at the Entrance to the Temple Mount

At the foot of the Southern Wall, to the east of the Triple Gate, impressive remains of a large Herodian building were found. The wall visible today, to the east of the reconstructed stairs leading up to the Triple Gate, is the western wall of the building that may have been the Temple Mount Entrance courthouse.

15. The Herodian Period Eastern Wall

The Eastern wall of the compound was extended 32 meters southward by Herod. As in the case of Robinson’s Arch at the southern end of the Western Wall, traces of a smaller arch, 7 meters (23 feet) in width, can be seen at the southern end of the Eastern Wall.

16. A Large Ritual Bath (Miqveh)

A square, particularly large ritual bath was found near the Ophel road, in the southeastern area of the excavations. It appears that this bath was built to serve large numbers of people simultaneously, which was probably necessary during festivals, when thousands of pilgrims visited the Temple Mount.