The Road Taken: From the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount in the Second Temple Period

Herodian Jerusalem (of the 1st century BCE and the 1st century CE) was a big city. It was the Temple City, which attracted Jewish pilgrims throughout the year, and particularly during the three main Jewish festivals. During these days of peak activity several ten thousands of persons gathered in the city, in addition to its local population which was of the same size. In the recent years our excavations have revealed two of the main monuments of Herodian Jerusalem: The Pool of Siloam and a wide paved esplanade to the north of it, and two long segments of the stone paved and stepped road which led from the pool towards the Temple Mount, which was situated, half a mile to the north of it. The road had a twofold use. It led the people who gathered around the pool, and who might have purified themselves in it, to the Temple Mount. At the same time, the main drainage system (cloaca maxima) which was constructed under it (of which a long and impressive segment was revealed recently) drained the city from the winter rains. Archaeological indications were found also that this was one of the subterranean hideaways used by the inhabitants to flee from the city when besieged by the Romans in 70 CE, as described by Flavius Josephus (War VI 370, 401, 429).