Mysterious handprint found in 1,000-year-old ditch in Jerusalem

Israeli archaeologists intrigued by discovery of newly discovered handprint carved in the stone wall of an old ditchon the outskirts of the old city of Jerusalem.

The discovery took place during the excavations carried out for the project to widen a highway along Sultán Suleimán Street, between the damascus gate and the Lions Gate.

According to reported the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the site was used to defend the Old City of Jerusalem from Crusader attackwhich in 1099 needed five weeks to cross it and break through the walls and defenses of the city.

The moat was dug in stone around the entire old town, is 10 meters (33 ft) wide and between two and seven meters deep and, unlike typical European moats, is not filled with water.

The old ditch where the footprint was found. Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority.

Intriguing Carved Handprint Baffles Archaeologists

The researchers said they are faced with an ancient puzzle. They wonder if the engraved footprint is something symbolic, if it refers to a specific object nearby or if it is a “joke” or a “local prank”; for if the function of the old ditch is clear, the significance of the hand remains elusive.

Zubair Adawi, director of excavations at the IAA, said in a statement: “It is a mystery, we are trying to solve it.”

Zubair Adawi shows the discovered carved handprint. Credit: Yoli Schwartz/Israel Antiquities Authority.

For now, the moat and the mano have been covered over to allow infrastructural work to continue just below the walls that currently surround the city, built in the 16th century by the Ottoman Turkish sultan. Suleiman the Magnificent.

Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority.

Eli Escuzidodirector of the Israel Antiquities Authority said archaeologists uncover the city’s intense military history on a daily basis and will continue to make great efforts to expose the finds to the public soon.

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