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Robinson’s Arch

ROBINSON’s ARCH. It is located in the W wall of the Temple area thirty-nine ft. N of the SW corner of that Temple area. The arch is c. fifty ft. wide and projects W out over the Tyropoeon Valley. The longest stone in the arch is thirty-eight ft. nine inches and weighs c. eighty tons. It stands sixty-two ft. above the foundation course. This was the first of a series of arches that carried a roadway from the Temple area across the Tyropoeon Valley to the W hill of Jerusalem, where the most influential section of the NT city was located.

Col. Charles Warren estimated the width of the span and sank a shaft looking for the pier that would mark the other end of the arch. He located it c. fifty ft. from the Temple wall. Between the pier and the wall he also located some of the voussoirs of the arch where they had fallen upon a contemporary paved street some forty ft. below the bridge.

After breaking through that street Warren found a second paved street some eighteen ft. still farther down, and upon it a voussoir of an earlier bridge. Josephus wrote that this earlier bridge was built by the Maccabees. They later destroyed it lest it be of assistance to Pompey in his attack on the Temple area in 63 b.c.

Herod the Great erected a new bridge in connection with his rebuilding of the entire Temple area. This bridge was destroyed with the Temple itself in a.d. 70. The spring of the arch of that Herodian bridge in the Temple wall is called Robinson’s Arch. It is named after the great Pal. geographer Edward Robinson, who discovered it in 1838.

Bibliography C. Warren and C. R. Conder, SWP, “Jerusalem,” 176-183.

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