The subterranean aqueduct and fortification wall discovered nearby were at first thought to be simply more evidence of the vast construction projects undertaken by King Herod the Great (74-4 B.C.E. ) during the Second Temple period. However, their excavation has revealed not only the precise dimensions of the structures, and who built them - but, more significantly, the fact that hundreds of archaeologists and researchers have been mistaken for the past 150 years about this site.
Jaffa Gate has been the main entry to the walled city of Jerusalem for centuries, but in contemporary times has been so overrun with tourists, merchants and residents that no serious excavation was ever conducted there. But thanks to nearby infrastructure-improvement work undertaken by the Jerusalem Development Authority, a scientific dig was initiated there January.
The excavations have thrown new light on Jerusalem's past, stirring a conceptual revolution about life in the city at the end of the Second Temple and Roman period (63 B.C.E.-324 C.E. ). They yielded two major structural discoveries - a fortification wall and an aqueduct, which intersect - but the more exciting revelation concerns the relationship between them.