Archaeologists excavating in the Old Walled City of Jerusalem claim to have uncovered the first tangible evidence of the Babylonian destruction of the city by Nebuchadnezzar two thousand five hundred years ago.
TV Dig site
TV Professor Avigad (in check shirt with bald head) explains to journalists
TV PAN ACROSS Excavations (3 shots)
CU PAN Professor holding four arrowheads in his hand
TV PAN Professor and journalists at top of excavation PAN TO excavation and modern buildings in background
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Archaeologists excavating in the Old Walled City of Jerusalem claim to have uncovered the first tangible evidence of the Babylonian destruction of the city by Nebuchadnezzar two thousand five hundred years ago.
The find provided an exciting climax to the seventh season of archaeological excavations in the former Jewish quarter of the Old City, which was annexed by Israel following its capture from Jordan in the 1967 war.
The Israeli excavation team, led by Professor Nahman Avigad, discovered four ancient arrowheads - three iron and one bronze -among charred wood and ash near as Israelite defensive tower. The arrowheads were discovered earlier this week - the last seven days of the dig.
Professor Avigad, who is 70, told a news conference on Wednesday (29 october) that the arrowheads, which were at the bottom of a 15 metre (45 ft.) deep pit, appeared to date back two thousand five hundred years to a period when the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, launched an assault on Jerusalem. During the assault the first Jewish temple and the Old City were razed to the ground.
The three iron arrowheads were made to a familiar local pattern, but the bronze one was made in what the archaeologists describe as the "northern" style. This style was not used by the people of Palestine, and Professor Avigad's deduction is that the iron arrows were fired by the Jewish defenders, and the bronze by the Babylonian attackers.
Jerusalem was left desolate for half a century after the attack, and the city's destruction is described in the Second Book of Kings: "And he burnt the house of the Lord, and the King's house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man's house burnt he with fire".