Turns Out We Put a Parking Lot on Top of a Lost Ancient Greek Fort
It seems that we find the coolest things when we dig up old parking lots.
In 1996, the National Underwater and Marine Agency discovered the location of a warship built for Texas’ navy during the Mexican-American War, conveniently beneath a parking lot in Galveston. Then back in 2010, Canadian archaeologists dug up the first Canadian Parliament (burned to the ground by an angry mob in 1849, a year after its establishment) from under a parking lot. And then, in 2013 under a parking lot in Leicester, England, archaeologists found the skeleton of King Richard III of England, the scoliosis-suffering subject of Shakespeare’s Richard III, who was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.
Now, it seems that we modern folks have accidentally paved over an entire Ancient Greek fort: the 2,000-year-old lost stronghold of Acra.
— Britannica (@Britannica) November 4, 2015
The fort was built on a cliff overlooking the City of David hill by Greek mercenaries to cement the Seleucid Empire’s control over the city around two millennia ago, but was recaptured by the Jews in 141 BCE and razed some time after that.
Experts have been attempting to locate Acra for over a century. Using the Book of Maccabees and the work of historian Josephus Flavius, which both locate the fort within the City of David, archaeologists eventually dug up the parking lot to find lead sling shots, wine jars, bronze arrowheads, and ballista stones stamped with a trident, which is a symbol of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the ruler of the Seleucid Empire at the time Acra was retaken.
Finds like this really make you wonder what historical wonder is resting outside, just being used as a resting spot for a jacked-up Toyota 4Runner and a bumper-sticker-decked Prius.
Daniel Susco is a native of the Dayton-Cincinnati area, and has written on a multitude of subjects. He can discuss Shakespeare, expound on Classical Mythology, and even make witty jokes about Pliny the Elder (More like “Pliny the Rounder,” right?). In his free time, Daniel enjoys reading, cooking, woodworking, and long walks on the beach (just kidding – sunburn is no joke). See more articles by Daniel.