JERUSALEM, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Israeli archaeologists have discovered magnificent and rare remains of a royal palace in Jerusalem, built about 2,700 years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said on Thursday.
According to archaeologists, probably one of the kings of ancient Judah, or one of Jerusalem's richest people lived in the impressive villa.
The team discovered dozens of ornamented architectural stone artifacts at the site, which were incorporated into the magnificent structure.
These soft limestone items, with decorative carvings, include capitals of various sizes with royal building features and visual symbols typical to the ancient kingdoms of Judah and Israel.
According to the IAA, this is a first-time discovery of scaled-down models of both kingdoms' giant capitals, incorporated above the royal palace gates.
The unveiled collection includes three complete medium-sized stone capitals, which decorated the patio or supported the balcony.
Other items, with tiny headlines, decorated window frames, as they were placed on ornamented pillars, under the sills.
"The level of workmanship on these capitals is the best seen to date, and the degree of preservation is rare," the IAA noted.
Unlike the capitals, the rest of the building was destroyed, probably in the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.
According to the team, the findings indicate the restoration of Jerusalem after the Assyrian siege of the city in 701 B.C., during the reign of Judah's King Hezekiah.
"This discovery joins villas, mansions and government buildings outside the city's walls, testifying to the relief felt by the residents after the Assyrian threat was over," the archaeologists concluded. Enditem