Experts stumped by ancient Jerusalem markings

Archaeologists Jerusalem Dig Markings

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View Gallery In this photo taken on Dec. 1, 2011, marks carved in the bedrock above two,800 many years …

In this image taken on Dec. 1, 2011, Israel's Antiquities Authority archeologist …

This image taken on Dec. 1, 2011, displays a look at of the excavation internet site recognized as the …

In this picture taken on Dec. 1, 2011, marks carved in the bedrock above two,800 many years …

JERUSALEM (AP) — Mysterious stone carvings produced 1000's of a long time back and not long ago uncovered in an excavation underneath Jerusalem have archaeologists stumped.

Israeli diggers who uncovered a intricate of rooms carved into the bedrock in the oldest section of the city recently discovered the markings: Three "V'' shapes minimize following to every single other into the limestone flooring of one particular of the rooms, about 2 inches (5 centimeters) deep and twenty inches (50 centimeters) lengthy. There have been no finds to provide any clues pointing to the identity of who created them or what purpose they served.

The archaeologists in cost of the dig know so minor that they have been unable even to posit a concept about their naturel, mentioned Eli Shukron, 1 of the two directors of the dig.

"The markings are very odd, and quite intriguing. I've never ever witnessed nearly anything like them," Shukron said.

The designs had been identified in a dig recognized as the Town of David, a politically delicate excavation carried out by Israeli government archaeologists and funded by a nationalist Jewish team below the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in east Jerusalem. The rooms had been unearthed as element of the excavation of fortifications close to the historical city's only natural drinking water source, the Gihon spring.

It is possible, the dig's archaeologists say, that when the markings had been created at least two,800 many years back the shapes might have accommodated some kind of wooden construction that stood inside them, or they may possibly have served some other purpose on their very own. They may have had a ritual purpose or 1 that was fully mundane. Archaeologists confronted by a curious artifact can usually at minimum enterprise a guess about its nature, but in this scenario no 1, including outside professionals consulted by Shukron and the dig's co-director, archaeologists with decades of knowledge amongst them, has any thought.

There appears to be at minimum 1 other ancient marking of the same type at the web site. A century-old map of an expedition led by the British explorer Montague Parker, who searched for the lost treasures of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem among 1909 and 1911, consists of the shape of a "V'' drawn in an underground channel not way absent. Contemporary archaeologists haven't excavated that area yet.

Ceramic shards discovered in the rooms indicate they ended up final used all around 800 B.C., with Jerusalem below the rule of Judean kings, the dig's archaeologists say. At about that time, the rooms show up to have been crammed with rubble to help the building of a defensive wall.

It is unclear, nonetheless, no matter whether they were developed in the time of individuals kings or hundreds of years previously by the Canaanite residents who predated them.

The function of the complex is part of the riddle. The straight lines of its partitions and amount floors are proof of cautious engineering, and it was found close to the most crucial internet site in the metropolis, the spring, suggesting it may well have had an crucial function.

A special locate in a room beside the a single with the markings — a stone like a present day grave marker, which was left upright when the place was filled in — may possibly offer you a clue. This kind of stones have been used in the historic Middle East as a focal position for ritual or a memorial for lifeless ancestors, the archaeologists say, and it is most likely a remnant of the pagan religions which the city's Israelite prophets tried using to eradicate. It is the 1st these stone to be found intact in Jerusalem excavations.

But the ritual stone does not essentially imply the complete complex was a temple. It may possibly just have marked a corner dedicated to non secular apply in a building whose purpose was commonplace.

With the specialists not able to arrive up with a theory about the markings, the Town of David dig posted a image on its Facebook page and solicited tips. The final results ranged from the imagined-provoking — "a system for wood panels that held some other item," or molds into which molten steel would could have been poured — to the fanciful: ancient Hebrew or Egyptian characters, or a "symbol for h2o, particularly as it was around a spring."

The City of David dig, exactly where the carvings ended up found, is the most large-profile and politically contentious excavation in the Holy Land. Named for the biblical monarch considered to have ruled from the spot 3,000 several years back, the dig is positioned in what right now is east Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel in 1967. Palestinians claim that element of the city as the money of a potential state ( via ).