Have Jewish Skeletons from the 70 CE Roman Destruction of Jerusalem Been Found?
by James Tabor
And now, since his soldiers were already quite tired with killing men, and yet there appeared to be a vast multitude still remaining alive, Caesar gave orders that they should kill none but those that were in arms, and opposed them, but should take the rest alive. But, together with those whom they had orders to slay, they slew the aged and the infirm; but for those that were in their flourishing age, and who might be useful to them, they drove them together into the temple, and shut them up within the walls of the court of the women; over which Caesar set one of his freed men, as also Fronto, one of his own friends; which last was to determine everyone’s fate, according to his merits. So this Fronto slew all those that had been seditious and robbers, who were impeached one by another; but of the young men he chose out the tallest and most beautiful, and reserved them for the triumph; and as for the rest of the multitude that were above seventeen years old, he put them into bonds, and sent them to the Egyptian mines.”
Josephus, On the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in August, 70 CE War 6:414-418.
This story has been now picked up by various media over the Tisha b’Av holy day unfortunately raises more questions than it answers. It is truly unfortunate that some basic scientific tests, especially C-14 for dating, can not be done on these skeletal remains as well as a further investigation of their archaeological context. May we hope and pray that scientific reason prevails over partisan politics and parties.