The Washington Post is reporting that archaeologists have discovered an old abandoned building adjacent to an ancient museum in Jerusalem’s Old City, and that this could be the remains of the palace where Jesus was tried before his crucifixion.
“There is, of course, no inscription stating it happened here, but everything—archaeological, historical and gospel accounts—all falls into place and makes sense,” says Shimon Gibson from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Amit Re’em, the Jerusalem district archaeologist who headed the excavation team, started the project 15 years ago, when there were plans to expand the Tower of David Museum. The team knew the location had been used as a prison by the Ottoman Turks and then the British—when those groups ruled the area—but as the archaeologists uncovered more evidence they suspected this was the real site of Jesus’ trial.
Wars and a lack of funds caused delays in bringing the information public, but now that’s changed; tours organized by the museum will now be offered.
Experts have long debated over the location of the trial where Pontius Pilate sentenced Jesus of Nazareth to death. Known by Christians as the Stations of the Cross—or Via Dolorosa—it is the path taken when Jesus was sentenced, crucified, and then buried. According to Christian scriptures, Jesus was brought before Pontius Pilate in the “praetorium,” which is Latin for a general’s tent within a Roman encampment. Some translate that to being military barracks, while others believe it could probably be the palace built by Herod, as Pilate would have been his guest.
Most scientists agree that Herod’s palace is located where the Tower of David Museum can now be found. Pontius Pilate was likely a guest in the palace, and according to descriptions in the New Testament, the trial took place near a gate and on a bumpy stone pavement, details that fit with the archaeological findings.
Main Image: Shutterstock.com
Second Image: Reuters/Jim Hollander