Recent Excavations around the Jerusalem Temple Mount during the Late Second Temple Period: Implications for Pilgrimage

If we had read the description of Jerusalem, as pilgrims saw it at the Hasmonean period, in the reign of King Herod, and in the middle of the first century CE, we could have mistakenly thought that these were three different cities. The pace of construction and the change in appearance of the area that was close to the walls of the Temple Mount in the late Second Temple period turns out to be dramatic and frequent. Magnificent buildings whose construction was never finished, frequently changing building plans, and more, are being revealed. In this paper, I will discuss the archaeological remains that were discovered west of Wilson Arch and in the Western Wall Plaza in recent years. These remains allow careful reconstruction of the area that lay west of the main western entrance gate to the Temple Mount during the Hasmonean and Herodian periods.