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Archaeological find in Jerusalem’s City of David may answer ancient mystery

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A recent discovery by the Israel Antiquities Authority in Jerusalem’s City of David may reveal the answer to one of archaeology’s most enduring mysteries: the location of the Greek Acra citadel.

The exact location of the famous stronghold built by Antiochus IV, to control Jerusalem and monitor activity on the Temple Mount, has long been unknown due to the paucity of architectural remains that can be traced to the Greek presence in Jerusalem.

Over the past 100 years of archaeological research in Jerusalem, numerous theories have been put forth identifying the location of the Acra, which was eventually overtaken by the Hasmoneans.

The Book of Maccabees addresses the location of the Acra, stating: “And they built the City of David with a great and strong wall, and with strong towers, and made it a fortress [Greek: Acra] for them: And they placed there a sinful nation, wicked men, and they fortified themselves therein.”

Additionally, the historian Josephus Flavius wrote of the Arca in “Antiquities of the Jews.”

“…and when he had overthrown the city walls, he built a citadel [Greek: Acra] in the lower part of the city, for the place was high, and overlooked the temple; on which account he fortified it with high walls and towers, and put into it a garrison of Macedonians,” Flavius wrote.

At a Tuesday morning press conference outside the Old City Wall’s at the City of David’s Givati parking lot, where excavations have been conducted for over a decade, researchers said they have finally exposed evidence of the Acra citadel on the City of David hill.

Indeed, IAA excavation directors Dr. Doron Ben-Ami, Yana Tchekhanovets and Salome Cohen, said the discovery has afforded them the unprecedented opportunity to reconstruct the layout of the settlement in the city, on the eve of the Maccabean uprising in 167 BCE.

“The new archaeological finds indicate the establishment of a well-fortified stronghold that was constructed on the high bedrock cliff overlooking


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