Excavations near the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Tuesday uncovered an underground complex that was carved out of bedrock some 2,000 years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority said.
The complex, composed of several rooms and an open courtyard, is believed to have been used by Jerusalem residents before the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in the year 70 AD.
The structure was completely covered by a mosaic floor of a public structure built at the end of the Byzantine period 1,400 years ago.
Researchers described the discovery as “a unique finding”, saying it was still not clear what the complex was used for.
At the site, excavators found clay cooking vessels, the remnants of oil lamps, a stone mug that is unique to Jewish sites from the Second Temple period.
Also found, were a fragment from a stone basin used to hold water that is thought to be linked to Jewish practices of ritual purity.
The Western Wall is one of the retaining walls of the destroyed Second Temple and is considered the most holy site in Judaism. It lies at the foot of the al Aqsa mosque, which is holy for Muslims