A Major Find in Israel: The Ancient Greek Fortress of Acra
Israel certainly has seen a boom in significant archaeological discoveries within the past year and this month the Israel Antiquities Authority has revealed yet another major find! The ancient Greek Fortress of Acra was built by King Antiochus Epiphanes in 168 BCE in order to control the population of Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple after the Maccabean Revolt. Both the historian Josephus Flavius and the deuterocanocial book of Maccabees referenced the fortress as being in the City of David and yet its location has proved puzzling for centuries.
Archaeologists believe that this lost structure has finally been found. While excavating under a parking lot of the City of David, a large section of wall, believed to be the base of the fort’s tower, was unearthed. The discovery was further supported when the remains of a glacis (a manmade defensive slope) and weapons stamped with the emblem of Antiochus Epiphanes were found nearby. While the excavation project has been ongoing for the past decade, the Israel Antiquities Authority had not unveiled the extent of the findings to the public until this month. The excavation site is set to open to the public before the end of the year and organized Israel tours will be available at that time as well.