The Temple Institute: Finds on Temple Mount from First Temple

 

 


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Finds on Temple Mount from First Temple

reprinted from Arutz 7
9 Cheshvan 5768, 21 October 07 07:56

by Hillel Fendel

(IsraelNN.com) The unauthorized dig of a trench this past summer by the Moslem Waqf on the Temple Mount, in the course of which it was assumed that precious findings were destroyed, apparently had a thin silver lining. Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) personnel monitoring the trench-digging have, for the first time, found traces of the First Temple.

The IAA studied an archaeological level dating to the First Temple Period, exposed in the area close to the south-eastern corner of the raised platform surrounding the Dome of the Rock.

Archaeological examination of a small section of this level, led by Jerusalem District Archaeologist Yuval Baruch, uncovered fragments of ceramic table wares, animal bones, and more. The finds date from the 8th to 6th centuries BCE; the First Temple existed between the 9th and 5th centuries BCE, having been built by King Solomon in 832 and destroyed in 422.

The archaeological team - Baruch of the IAA, Prof. Sy Gitin, Director of the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, Prof. Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University and Prof. Ronny Reich of Haifa University - reached the conclusion, after examining the finds and archaeological data, that their characteristics and location may aid scholars in reconstructing the dimensions and boundaries of the Temple Mount during the First Temple Period.

The finds include fragments of bowl rims, bases and body sherds, the base of a juglet used for the ladling of oil, the handle of a small juglet, and the rim of a storage jar. The bowl sherds were decorated with wheel burnishing lines characteristic of the First Temple Period.

The IAA announced that it will hold an archaeological seminar concerning these finds and their archaeological interpretation at a later date.

Muslim and Jewish Claims

Muslim scholars often deny any Jewish claim to the Temple Mount, and it is often charged that Arab excavations there are employed for the purpose of throwing out truckloads of artifacts that would prove otherwise. Moslem claims to the Temple Mount, on the other hand, have been debunked even by other Moslems. A commentator for the official Egyptian government weekly, of all places, has written that the entire Moslem claim on Jerusalem and the El-Aksa mosque is based on a mistaken reading of one chapter of the Quran. Ahmed Mahmad Oufa wrote that the verse that mentions a night journey by Muhammed to a mosque has nothing to do with Jerusalem, as is generally claimed, but with a mosque near the holy Moslem city of Medina.

Prof. Moshe Sharon, Middle Eastern expert in the Hebrew University, expressed great surprise at the fact that such an article would be published in Arabic and in an Arabic-speaking country. He told Arutz-7 at the time, "All in all, this is not a new claim. We must remember that Jerusalem is not mentioned at all in the Quran [though it is mentioned hundreds of time in the Bible - ed. note]. The verse in question is in Sura [chapter] 17, which states that Muhammad was brought at night from one mosque to a 'more distant' - aktsa, in Arabic - mosque. The first Moslem commentators did not explain this as referring to Jerusalem at all, of course, but rather as a miraculous night journey or night vision or some such. In the beginning of the 8th century, however, they began associating this with Jerusalem, because they had a need to start giving sanctity to Jerusalem, and so they started connecting this verse with Jerusalem... Originally, however, the Moslems recognized the area of the Dome of the Rock as holy because of the Jewish Temple of King Solomon."

Archaeologists Find Link To First Temple

reprinted from The Jerusalem Post
Oct. 21, 2007

by Etgar Lefkovits

Archeologists overseeing contested Islamic infrastructure work on Jerusalem's Temple Mount have stumbled upon a sealed archeological level dating back to the First Temple period, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Sunday.

The find marks the first time that archeological remains dating back to the First Temple period have been found on the contested holy site, the state-run archeological body said.

No archeological excavations have ever been carried out on the Temple Mount, which is Judaism's holiest and Islam's third-holiest site, due to opposition from religious leaders.

The sealed archeological level, dated from the eighth to the sixth centuries BCE, was exposed at the end of August in the area close to the southeastern corner of the raised platform surrounding the Dome of the Rock, and includes fragments of ceramic tableware and animal bone.

"The layer is a closed, sealed archeological layer that has been untouched since as early as the eighth century BCE," said Yuval Baruch, the Jerusalem District archeologist for the Israel Antiquities Authority.

But independent Israeli archeologists from the nonpartisan Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, who have repeatedly lambasted the Antiquities Authority for allowing Islamic officials to carry out the infrastructure work this summer, downplayed the findings.

The archeologists said the maintenance work, which was carried out with a tractor, had left a 100-meter-long and roughly 1-1.5-meter-deep trench and had badly damaged antiquities at the site.

"The Antiquities Authority is standing behind the barbaric Islamic destruction of antiquities on the Temple Mount, and then presents the results of the destruction to show just how important the finds are," said Hebrew University archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, a leading Temple Mount expert. "This is a smoke screen for the destruction of antiquities."

According to decades-old regulations in place at the Temple Mount, Israel maintains overall security control at the site, while the Wakf, or Islamic Trust, is charged with day-to-day administration of the ancient compound, which is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute over control of Jerusalem.

 

 

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