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Wilson's Arch (Hebrew: קשת וילסון, romanized: Keshet Vilson) is the modern name for an ancient stone arch in Jerusalem, the first in a row of arches that supported a large bridge connecting the Herodian Temple Mount with the Upper City on the opposite Western Hill. The Arch springs from the Western Wall and is still visible underneath later buildings set against the Wall. The name Wilson's Arch is also used to denote the hall that it partially covers, which is currently used as a synagogue. This hall opens towards the Western Wall Plaza at the Plaza's northeast corner, so that it appears on the left of the prayer section of the Western Wall to visitors facing the Wall.
|exposed: 20 feet (6 m)
|Herod the Great; enlarged by a Roman Procurators (Pontius Pilate?)
|20 BCE-20 CE; enlarged between 30-60 CE
The Arch once spanned 42 feet (13 m), supporting a bridge that carried both a street and an aqueduct. Excavations between 2015 and 2019 collected organic material in the mortar used during various stages of construction. Radiocarbon dating indicated that the initial bridge to the Temple Mount was completed between 20 BCE and 20 CE, and a doubling in width occurred between 30 CE and 60 CE. The ground level during the Second Temple period was lower by some 3 meters than its height during the period of the Early Arab conquest. Today the original stones of the arch lie within the fillings at a depth of about 8 meters below the contemporary paved level. This arch once served as a bridge over a stone-paved street that passed beneath it, similar to Robinson's Arch. The older bridge, no longer extant, is thought to have allowed access to a gate that was level with the surface of the Temple Mount during the late Second Temple period.
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