Archaeologists Uncover a 2,000-Year-Old Jerusalem Marketplace

As documented in the Talmud and Hebrew Bible, the festivals of Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot—in the spring, summer, and fall, respectively—were pilgrimage holidays, when Jews throughout the Land of Israel, and even from the Diaspora, would visit the Temple and offer sacrifices. Jonathan Laden describes the recent discovery of remains of a market where these pilgrims might have made purchases on their way into Jerusalem:

Archaeologists have found rare 2,000-year-old measurement tools that indicate a major town square. [These include the] top of a table used to measure liquids. In the vicinity dozens of stone weights were also discovered.

The age of the artifacts and their location, along the path of the Pilgrimage Road from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount, in the oldest part of Jerusalem known as the City of David, suggest that this was a main city square and market used by pilgrims . . . on their way to the Second Temple. . . . The pool’s usage 2,000 years ago is unclear; it might have provided cooking and drinking water to pilgrims, and may also have been used for ritual bathing prior to going to the Temple.

The agoranomos, the officer tasked with supervising measurements and weights for the conducting of trade in the city of Jerusalem, would have used both the stone weights and the measuring table as a standard to help traders calibrate their measurements. Weights were used to verify dry goods, and the measurement table for liquids. [This] is one of only three discovered from the time of the Second Temple.

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Read more at Bible History Daily

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Jerusalem, Jewish holidays, Second Temple

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy