Ancient Jerusalems handprint confuses Israel experts FRANCE 24 English

Ancient Jerusalem’s handprint confuses Israel experts – FRANCE 24 English

Issued on: 25.01.2023 – 14:04

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli archaeologists said on Wednesday they are trying to uncover the meaning of a recently discovered handprint carved into the stone wall of an ancient moat outside Jerusalem’s old city.

The imprint, which may have been made as a “prank,” was found in a thousand-year-old moat uncovered during work to widen a road in Israel-annexed east Jerusalem near Herod’s Gate, the Israel Antiquities Authority said .

The massive moat was carved into the rock all around the old town, stretched 10 meters (33 ft) in diameter and was between two and seven meters deep and, unlike typical European moats, was not filled with water.

According to the IAA, it took the Crusaders five weeks to cross it and breach the city’s walls and defenses in 1099.

While the function of the moat was clear, the significance of the hand was elusive.

“It’s a mystery, we’ve been trying to solve it,” IAA excavation director Zubair Adawi said in a statement.

IAA archaeologists remained uncertain who carved the hand in the rock or what its significance is.

The moat and hand have since been covered to allow infrastructure work to continue just below the walls that currently surround the city, which was built by Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century.