When Hurdus expanded the Har Habayis, he made his expansion on one flat level. However, the original mountain slopes down, so they had to build vaulted chambers, as well as fills of earth and other stuff, to support the Har Habayis surface. Although most of these vaults were destroyed during the Churban, the southeastern vaults were later rebuilt, and support the southeastern part of the current plaza. This vaulted area is known as Shlomo's stables. The original vaults were probably used as storage rooms; and had windows to let in light. Near the triple gate, a window frame was found, this frame had grooves for metal bars, as well as holes for the hinges of the shutters to open and close it.
As mentioned in a previous post, running along the southern wall was a stepped walkway, 6.4 m (21 ft) wide. This walkway was built on top of rooms with vaulted roofs, these rooms most probably were stores. When the Romans destroyed Yerushalayim, they filled these stores up with wood, and lit them on fire. (The burning of this area of Yerushalayim is mentioned by Josephus, Wars 6:6:3.) The Har Habayis is mostly built from limestone, which crumbles and turns into powder when exposed to very hot temperatures (This is how lime (סיד) is made). Before these stores and the walkway totally collapsed from the heat, the fire left a burnt imprint on the Har Habayis wall, which was the back wall of these rooms, in the shape of the interior of these stores. These burnt marks have enabled us to figure out how the stores looked. (When the stones are examined closely, you can see that a semicircular line was scratched into the wall to help the builders build these vaults correctly.)
Around eighty meters (265 feet) away from the southern corner of the western wall, right by the southern end of the Ezras Nashim by the Kosel, a large lintel, with a blocked-up gate underneath, can be seen. The bottom of this lintel is 2398 ft. 5 in. (731 m) above sea-level. This seems to be the second of the gates which Josephus (Antiquities 15:11:5) says led to the suburbs of the city. (The gate that led over a passage to the king's palace was on top of Wilson's arch, and the road that descended to the valley by a great number of steps was the one on top of Robinson's arch, so the two suburban gates must be Warren's and Barclay's gates.) However, this statement seems slightly problematic, because it opens up straight into the city. R' Zalman Menachem Koren writes (the Beit HaMikdash, pp 146-147) that probably, there is a scribal error here, and that originally, Josephus wrote that two gates led to the Tyropoeon, (meaning that it led to the Tyropoeon valley,) and a copyist mistakenly changed it to "proesteon", which is Greek for suburbs. [You can also explain that since the road that went from in front of this gate went outside the first wall, to the area inside the second wall, (as shown here) therefore Josephus says that the gate led to the suburbs.]
Three-hundred and fifty-five meters to the north of the southern corner of the western wall, there is a gate going through a tunnel into Har Habayis, called now Warren's gate. This gate is mentioned by Josephus, who says (Antiquities 15:11:5): Now in the western quarters of the enclosure of the temple there were four gates; the first led to the king's palace, and went to a passage over the intermediate valley; two more led to the suburbs of the city; and the last led to the other city, where the road descended down into the valley by a great number of steps, and thence up again by the ascent". This is one of the gates which led to the suburbs, as it was located outside the original walls of Yerushalayim, in the area inside the second wall.
I have added the first chapter of a description of the First Beis Hamikdash.
My name is Mendel Lewis.
This year is a Hakhel year. To learn about this special year, and what we should do about it, visit the following links:
The Year of Hakhel - Celebrating Jewish Unity - 5783 -- A Year of Unity (chabad.org)
Shnas Hakhel - Home
Hahkel Nation 5783 (hakhelnation.com)
Hashem said to Yechezkel, "Its reading in the Torah is as great as its building. Go and say it to them, and they will occupy themselves to read the form of it in the Torah. And in reward for its reading, that they occupy themselves to read about it, I count it for them as if they were occupied with the building of it. (Tanchuma tzav 14)