An archaeological excavation in the Jerusalem Walls National Park in the City of David, the site of ancient Jerusalem, unearthed a pyramid-shaped staircase. This unique structure was located right next to the 2,000-year-old Second Temple stepped street, famed for leading religious pilgrims from Shiloah (Siloam) Pool to the temple. The dig was carried out in partnership between the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the City of David Foundation, according to a release from the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“The structure exposed is unique. To date such a structure has yet to be found along the stepped street in the numerous excavations that have taken place in Jerusalem and to the best of our knowledge outside of it,” said excavation directors, archaeologists Nahshon Szanton and Joe Uziel, in the release. “We believe the structure was a kind of monumental podium that attracted the public’s attention when walking on the city’s main street. It would be very interesting to know what was said there 2,000 years ago. Were messages announced here on behalf of the government? Perhaps news or gossip, or admonitions and street preaching – unfortunately we do not know.”

Numerous artifacts were found at the foot of the pyramid-shaped structure, such as stone vessels, glassware, and dozens of complete pottery vessels.

Szanton and Uziel will present their findings on Thursday, Sept. 9 at the 16th Annual Conference at the City of David Studies of Ancient Jerusalem.

“Given the lack of a clear archaeological parallel to the stepped structure, the purpose of the staircase remains the mystery,” they said in the release. “It is certainly possible the rabbinical sources provide valuable information about structures, such as this, although for the time being there is no definitive proof.”