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The Cardo Maximus (Jerusalem's main thoroughfare)

The Cardo Maximus was the main thoroughfare of the Emperor Hadiran’s 2nd Century CE Aelia Capitolina. It was a wide, stone-paved and colonnaded road that led through the heart of the city from the north at the Damascus Gate to the south with an unknown end point.

The southern end of the road was excavated in the 1970s during the reconstruction of the city’s Jewish Quarter. Excavators uncovered a section of the road, now located below ground level and accessible for visitors to walk upon today. This section of road was dated to the Emperor Justinian’s rebuilding programme of the 6th Century CE to link the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to the newly constructed Nea Church. It should therefore be viewed as a later addition to the original Roman road as no evidence of an earlier pavement was excavated below.

Type: Archaeological Site
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Trench 3, end of excavation shots

These images were taken on the final day of the excavation season.

Type: Archaeological Excavation
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Test pit looking for sterile soil in trench 3

This test trench was dug at the westernmost end of trench 3 to confirm that there was no earlier occupation level under the Byzantine era dwelling.

Type: Archaeological Excavation
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Trench 3, fourth extension

This was the final extension to the trench and details such as thresholds, doorposts and a tannour (clay oven) were revealed.

Type: Archaeological Excavation
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Trench 3, third extension

This was the third extension to trench 3.

Type: Archaeological Excavation
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Trench 3, second extension

These pictures are taken some days after the last images and show the second extension to the trench, by which point it was clear that the trench was uncovering a street of terraced one room dwellings.

Type: Archaeological Excavation
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Trench 3, first extension

The trench overseen by the DGAM expanded rapidly and this is the first of a series of extensions that were added to the trench as it was extended to reveal a row of simple houses.

Type: Archaeological Excavation
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Trench 3, Context 1

These pictures are of the northernmost trench opened and overseen by Yaarob Abdallah of the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM). The photographs record the first phase of his work.

Type: Archaeological Excavation
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Umayyad Mosque Damascus

The Umayyad Mosque of Damascus is the earliest Islamic monument still extant after the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. As with the Dome of the Rock, the Mosque boasts a large volume of mosaic decoration of the highest quality that is believed to have been carried out by Byzantine artisans given the similarities of the technique and motifs with high-quality Byzantine commissions of the same era. The most notable difference is that there is a complete absence of figural imagery in the Islamic monuments. In the case of the Umayyad Mosque the decoration is particularly intriguing as it depicts a range of landscapes both urban and pastoral, all entirely without living creatures. This has led many commentators to argue that it represents a vision of paradise, with others arguing instead for an idealised representation of Damascus. Whether or not these interpretations are correct, the mosaicists appear familiar with Roman architecture, with porticoed late Roman villas appearing prominently in the decoration, meaning that the mosaics demonstrate a continuity with earlier artistic forms rather than a definitive break with the past. In many ways the decorative scheme is far more conservative than that of the Dome of the Rock, which predates is by over twenty years.

Type: Mosaic
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Resafa buildings excavated in the vicinity of the Cardo Maximus

Pictures of several structures that have been excavated in the vicinity of the Cardo Maximus near the C5th martyrium.

Type: Archaeological Site
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