After 20 years of excavating in the City of David, archaeologist Eli Shukrun quickly realized one day what an important find he had made. It was 2011, and he was digging at an Israel Antiquities Authority site — to be exact, a drainage tunnel of several hundred meters, running from the Siloam Pool, a rock-cut pool on the slopes of the ancient city of King David, to the foot of Robinson’s Arch, a stone staircase in the Old City's market area. It was a rare find, well preserved amid all the mud.
Shukrun had unearthed a Roman “gladius,” or sword, waiting 2,000 years to be found. It apparently belonged to a Roman soldier who dropped it when he climbed into the tunnel to search for Jewish rebels who had fled there in a panic after realizing their revolt had failed. Jerusalem had just been taken, and the Second Temple destroyed.