Locked, loaded and 53 years too late: Jordanian ammo found under Western Wall
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Locked, loaded and 53 years too late: Jordanian ammo found under Western Wall

Archaeologists unearth weapons stash dating back to Six Day War, ‘frozen in time in a water cistern’ at the holy site

Magazine of a Bren machine gun found during an excavation under the Western Wall tunnels (Yoli Schwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority)
Magazine of a Bren machine gun found during an excavation under the Western Wall tunnels (Yoli Schwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority)

Israeli archaeologists have uncovered Jordanian ammunition under the Western Wall tunnels, likely stashed there during the 1967 Six Day War as Amman battled Israel over the Old City, and left untouched under the holy site for 53 years.

Among the items found, during an excavation of a water cistern under the lobby of the Western Wall tunnels, were “ten full magazines of a Bren light machine gun, full clip chargers and two bayonets of a British Lee Enfield rifle,” according to the Israel Antiquities Authority and Western Wall Heritage Foundation.

“Usually, in excavations, we find ancient findings from one or two thousand years ago, but this time, we got a glimpse of the events that occurred 53 years ago, frozen in time in this water cistern,” said IAA archaeologists Dr. Barak Monnickendam-Givon and Tehila Sadiel in a joint statement on Wednesday.

“Apparently, this is an ammunition dump that was purposely hidden by soldiers of the Royal Jordanian Army during the Six Day War, perhaps when the IDF liberated the Old City,” they added.

Lee Enfield bayonet (Yoli Schwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority)

Assaf Peretz of the Israel Antiquities Authority said the ammunition had been manufactured in Leeds in 1956, and was later provided to the Jordanian army.

A general view of Jerusalem’s Western Wall and the Western Wall Tunnels. (Yaniv Berman, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

Noting the find, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation said: “Along with other glorious discoveries of our nation’s past from the Second Temple period, we are also happy about discovering findings from the war of this past generation to restore the Jewish nation’s heart and allow us to cling to the stones of the Western Wall.”

Broken magazine of Bren machine gun, found during an excavation under the Western Wall tunnels (Yoli Schwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority

Israel captured Jerusalem’s Old City and East Jerusalem and the West Bank from the Jordanians during the June 1967 war, in addition to the Golan Heights from Syria and the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip from Egypt.

Water cistern where the ammunition was stashed (The Western Wall Heritage Foundation)
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