JERUSALEM, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Newly unearthed arrowheads and catapult stones suggest archaeologists in Israel have finally located the Seleucid Acra, an ancient Greek stronghold constructed by King Antiochus IV in 168 B.C. during Greek rule of Jerusalem.
The arrowheads and ancient fortress were uncovered at the Givati Parking Lot dig site, located within the City of David neighborhood, inside the original center of the city of Jerusalem, now a national park.
"This sensational discovery allows us for the first time to reconstruct the layout of the settlement in the city, on the eve of the Maccabean uprising in 167 BCE," archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority announced in a press release. "The new archaeological finds indicate the establishment of a well-fortified stronghold that was constructed on the high bedrock cliff overlooking the steep slopes of the City of David hill."
The digs have uncovered ancient armaments, including bronze arrowheads, lead slingshots and catapult stones. Researchers have also identified a variety of defensive structures, including the base of a fort tower and a sloping wall designed to deter attackers.
Antiochus Epiphanes, or Antiochus IV, was the king of the Hellenistic Seleucid empire, which ruled Judea -- the Roman term for ancient Israel and Palestine -- during the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C. To control rebel factions who had tried to take over the city while Antiochus was away fighting in Egypt, the king built a military Greek citadel.
Much of the old city and fortress were destroyed in the years of civil war -- the so-called Maccabean Revolt -- that followed Antiochus' sacking of the city and his persecution of Jewish traditions.
Until now, researchers have debated the location of the ancient Acra.
Though it appears only minimal portions of the fort remain intact, it proved robust in the line of fire. Even as control of Jerusalem mostly fell to the Maccabees 164 B.C., the citadel remained in Greek control until 141 B.C.