Looking toward the Temple Mount, excavators pause in their work of uncovering a building in Jerusalem’s Upper City.

During Second Temple times, a priest would stand at the pinnacle of the southwest corner of the Temple Mount, the wall angle in front of the silver dome, and blow the shofar, or ram’s horn, to herald the Sabbath and important festivals. But on August 28, 70 A.D., the Jews of the Upper City who looked toward the Temple Mount saw not the trumpeter but their Temple in flames. Perhaps the sight gave them courage because, according to Josephus, they held out against the Roman assault for nearly a month after the destruction of the Temple. Finally, on September 20, the Romans overran the city, slaughtering the inhabitants and putting the entire city to the torch.