By Deror_avi (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Deror_avi (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Jesus may have walked on the path near this pyramid-shaped stone staircase in Jerusalem during his lifetime.

Israeli archaeologists have discovered a stone structure in the City of David, which based on tests, was built shortly after 30 A.D., just years after Jesus’ time on earth. The purpose or actual use of the pyramid-shaped stone staircase is still a mystery although there are clues suggesting that it was more likely an ancient podium during the Second Temple period.

According to Dr. Joe Uziel and Nahshon Szanton of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) “given the lack of a clear archaeological parallel to the stepped-structure, the purpose of the staircase remains a mystery.” Archaeologists believed that the structure is unique not only in Israel but in the world. “No other similar structure has been found in Jerusalem and, as far as we know around the world” said the IAA.

The structure is part of the stepped street used by ancient pilgrims making their way to and from the Temple and Pool of Siloam or Shiloah. The street is believed to be located above a historical drainage channel that carried flood and rainwater out of the city.

The mysterious structure is made out of large ashlar, or finely cut stones, the same material used in street making during that era, so archaeologists conclude that they were built at the same time. Although built like a staircase, the structure does not lead to a particular house or building. Around the stone, scientists have also uncovered pottery vessels, glassware and stone vessels.

Early rabbinic texts suggest that it could have been a podium used either by the government who needed to make public announcements, for news or admonitions, or perhaps used by early street preachers. Dr. Uziel is still puzzled saying “We can’t know for sure if the person standing on the podium would have been announcing to pilgrims (to be) righteous, bring tithes, or announcing something else.”

When asked the chances of Jesus walking by the stone structure or the paved road, Dr. Uziel said that it is unlikely since the structure and the stone street was built years after him. But on the idea that Jesus walked and took the same path during his lifetime, the archaeologist says that it’s possible.

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