(LIVE SCIENCE) Archaeologists may have discovered evidence of a dire famine that gripped Jerusalem during a Roman siege nearly 2,000 years ago.

Cooking pots and a ceramic lamp were found in an ancient cistern near the Western Wall, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced. Excavators believe these artifacts were left in the underground chamber by Jewish residents who were trying to eat what little food they had in secret during the war.

“This is the first time we are able to connect archaeological finds with the famine that occurred during the siege of Jerusalem at the time of the Great Revolt,” Eli Shukron, excavation director for the IAA, said in a statement. The Great Revolt was the first of several Jewish uprisings against Roman rule that began in A.D. 66. The revolt was ultimately unsuccessful. The Romans eventually took back Jerusalem from the Jewish rebels and destroyed much of the city, including the Second Temple.

 

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