The Temple Institute: The Temple Mount: Archeological Finds



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The Temple Mount Bird's-eye View and Aliya Guide
Temple Mount Liberation Guide to Ascending the Mount
Temple Mount Awakening Response to the Rabbinical "ban"
Police Discrimination Maimonides
The Continuing Destruction Rabbi Moshe Feinstein
Archaeological Finds Recent Visits
Antiquities Law Wakf Guidebook
Comptroller's 2010 Report Israeli Law
Piecing Together The Holy Temple


SINCE 1999 THE MOSLEM WAKF, which was granted de facto day-to-day control of the Temple Mount by the Israeli government in 1967, has been conducting illegal construction of an underground Mosque on the southern third of the Temple Mount. In the course of this illegal construction the Wakf has been using heavy tractors to excavate the earth. Both the construction and the excavation have been conducted without any archeological supervision, rendering both aspects of this violation of the holy site illegal. (To learn more about Israeli law concerning the Temple Mount, click here.) The stated purpose behind the Wakf's actions has been both to "create facts" on the ground, rendering the Mount a "Moslem only" site, and to destroy any archeological evidence of the first and second Holy Temples which stood on the Mount. This is part and parcel of a consistent policy of the Palestinian Authority to deny that the Holy Temple ever existed.

Although many have protested the brazen assault on this holiest of sites, the Israeli government has consistently followed the policy of acquiescence. Even the archeological community which has been outspoken in its protest, has done little more than throw up its arms in resignation. A young archeologist by the name of Zachi Zweig, however, refused to stand idly by. Led by Dr. Gabriel Barkay, Zachi organized and oversaw the transfer of the debris from where it was dumped, (illegally), in the Kidron Valley to an alternative location, where a crew of volunteers under Dr. Barkay's supervision have been painstakingly sifting through the dirt and rubble looking for signs of the past. This constitutes the first archeological "dig" on the Temple Mount in history. Ironically, archeological research has been forbidden on the Mount due to the sensitvity of the location for religious, (read, political), reasons.

The Moslem attempt to obliterate any remaining physical evidence of the Holy Temple has actually enabled Zachi and Dr. Barkay to uncover priceless links to the past. It must be kept in mind, however, that the wanton Wakf destruction has severely impaired the ability of archeologists to properly analyze the discoveries, due to the fact that they were removed from their original location. And, of course, the archeologists are not able to study those remnants that were pulverized into dust by the Wakf bulldozers. Yet, despite the adverse conditions, significant discoveries have been made of artifacts from both the first and second Temple era. Bronze coins dating from the Great Revolt against the Roman authority in the year 70 CE. have been uncovered. Below are three other fascinating discoveries made by Zachi's crew. Those of us who believe in the historical veracity of the Hebrew Bible do not require archeological evidence to bolster our convictions, just as those that are willing to employ any and all methods in an attempt to pervert, deny, and obliterate the truth certainly won't be moved by a few archeological finds, however startling they may be. Yet these discoveries, as you will see below, can bring us tantalizingly close to a period in human history of nearly a thousand years, when the Holy Temple stood on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem.

ZACHI DESCRIBES THE ITEM PICTURED ABOVE: "THE FIRST IS A FRAGMENT OF A SCULPTURED STONE of the Second Temple period engraved with an acanthus leaf in Herodian style. It is stylized in a very high level, and comes from a very important structure that stood on the Temple Mount during Second Temple period, maybe from the Temple itself!"

"THE SECOND IS A SCYTHO-IRANIAN ARROWHEAD, of the type used by Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian army that destroyed the First Temple in 586 BCE. Very few such arrowheads have been found in Jerusalem."

"AND THE THIRD IS A BULLA WITH A SEAL IMPRESSION. The bulla made of clay was originally attached to a document or a parcel, and still retains part of its original text on its face. The bulla is black in color as a result of being burned by the fire that ironically caused its preservation. The bulla became defragmented in ancient times and is incomplete. The letters preserved on the middle register are "ליהו" (...LYHW) while the bottom register reads "אמר..." (...AMR). In light of another published seal, it may be possible to complete the writing as "לגא]ליהו.[בן]אמר]" (Belonging to Ga'alyahu son of Immer). The house of Imer was a well-known priestly family at the end of the First Temple period, roughly from around the 7th - 6th Centuries BCE, and the days of Return to Zion." [See Jeremiah 20:1; Ezra 2:37, 2:59, 10:20; Nehemiah 3:29, 7:40, 7:61, 11:13, 7:61; First Chronicles 9:12, 24:14]

"This is a direct regards from the Temple Mount of the days of the Kings of Judah. Though tens of bullae have been found in the past in the City of David, this is the first time that a written item from the First Temple period was found on the Temple Mount itself."

EVEN THIS TINIEST OF FINDS is vastly rich in historical significance. One can only imagine what discoveries remain uncovered on the Temple Mount itself. Meanwhile, Zachi and Dr. Barkai have many tons of debris yet to sift through. Thanks to the generous support of the Ir David Foundation, they will be able to proceed apace. Even more remarkable than the link to our past that these dicoveries reveal, is the unbroken link to both past and future made evident in the remarkable efforts of a few who will not allow our past to be buried, nor our future to die. May the Holy Temple be rebuilt speedily, in our days!

Many thanks to Zachi Zweig for sharing these finds with us. If you would like to view Zachi's website, please click here.

To view other finds, click here.



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