Archeologists in Israel have discovered an ancient fortress believed to be connected to the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
According to CBN News, the 50-foot by 50-foot structure was used as a hilltop fortress in the second century to protect the city of Maresha, which was ruled by the Greek Seleucid Empire at the time. The Greeks, on the other hand, failed to defend the city, which was taken by the Jewish Hasmonean army.
From the site, Israel Antiquities Authority Excavation Director Achinoam Montagu told CBN News, “What we discovered here actually connects with the story of Hanukkah and the Hasmonean revolts against the Greeks.”
The building’s walls, which were nearly 10 feet wide, were slanted to prevent intruders from scaling the wall, he said.
“We also discovered a destruction layer, which contained hundreds of artifacts dating back to the second century BC, including pottery, coins, and weapons,” Montagu continued.
“We believe the Hasmoneans destroyed the city as part of their conquest of Idumea in 112 BC.”
The area was known as Idumea at the time of the battle, which comes from the biblical name Edom.
The ancient fortress would have been about 16 feet tall, with seven rooms and a stairwell to a second floor, according to Montagu.
“The destruction layer was about half a meter thick, and here are the roof woodblocks.” “We believe the roof collapsed, and the rest of the walls and building collapsed on top of it,” Montagu explained. “Hundreds of stones were removed during the excavations until we reached the destruction layer.”
The Maccabees, a group of Jewish warriors who founded the Hasmonean Dynasty, revolted against the Seleucid Empire in the second century BCE.
During the revolt, the Hasmoneans purified the temple in Jerusalem and, after finding enough oil for one day, lit up the temple’s menorah. Despite there only being a day’s worth of oil, the story goes that the menorah stayed lit for eight days.