Northern, Side Rooms

We are now standing inside the north central side of the main building where three rooms line the broad wall with doorways facing the courtyard to the south. The westernmost room, adjacent to the putative kitchen, is relatively large and believed by excavators to have served as a stable. This room is nearly 4 by 8 meters in size and divided by a thin partition wall. The original opening to the courtyard was apparently blocked at some later phase of occupation. Signs of what Hirschfeld called "a fierce fire" were found here, which he suggests was fueled by a large pile of straw stored in the corner of the room.

In the southern wall of this room, a large window located about .7 meters above the floor opens to the courtyard. The window is lined with holes, which Hirschfeld suggests were used for tethering animals. On the other side of the wall is a ramp that allowed access up to the window. Taken all together, these features suggest to excavators that this room was used to house animals.

Finally, just to the east of this putative stable are two rooms that shared a common entrance. Excavations yielded a hoard of eight coins from the reign of Mattathias Antigonus, recovered from beneath the left-hand side of the entrance's threshold. Mattathias Antigonus, the last of the Hasmonean kings, reigned only three years, from 40 until Herod's triumph in 37 BCE. The coins had been wrapped in a cloth bag but due to high concentrations of salt in the soil, they were badly deteriorated.


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