Monday, October 22, 2007

Archaeologists find link to 1st temple in controversial J'lem dig

Here is the beginning of my post.

These types of finds are what the Palestinians fear because it counters their rewriting of history which denies existence of the First and Second Temple. In fact, this deceit is not new and is precisely why the Al Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock were built directly over the site of the Jewish temples.

Archaeologists find link to 1st temple in controversial J'lem digBy Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent and The Associated PressIsraeli archaeologists overseeing a contested dig at Jerusalem's holiest site for Muslims and Jews stumbled upon a sealed archaeological level dating back to the era of the first biblical Jewish temple, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Sunday. Islamic authorities responsible for the Old City compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, said the dig was part of infrastructure work at the site to replace 40-year-old electrical cables. But the Islamic Trust denied that any discovery was made, or that any Israeli archaeologists were supervising the work.

On Sunday, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced that it had discovered fragments of ceramic table wares and animal bones dating back to the first Jewish temple - from the 6th to the 10th centuries B.C.The finds also included fragments of bowl rims, bases and body sherds, the base and handle of a small jug and the rim of a storage jar, the agency said in a statement.The site represents the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It houses both the Al Aqsa Mosque and the gold-capped Dome of the Rock, Islam's third-holiest shrine, built over the ruins of both biblical Jewish temples. Archaeological digs for a renovation project earlier this year by Israeli authorities next to the holy site sparked protests by Muslims. Jon Seligman, Jerusalem regional archaeologist for the Antiquities Authority, said the find was significant since it could help scholars in reconstructing the dimensions and boundaries of the Temple Mount during the first temple period. "The layer is a closed, sealed archaeological layer that has been undisturbed since the 8th century B.C.," he said.But the Public Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, a group of Israeli archaeologists, downplayed the findings, saying the dig was conducted in an unprofessional manner without proper documentation.

The group previously condemned the maintenance works, which included using a tractor to dig a trench, charging that digging at such a sensitive site could damage Bible-era relics and erase evidence of the presence of the biblical structures. "I think it is a smoke screen for the ruining of antiquities," said Eilat Mazar, a member of the committee.Seligman said the maintenance work was necessary to accommodate the thousands of worshippers who flock daily to the site.

He said no damage was caused to the site and added that the discovery was merely a pleasant surprise. "That's what makes this [archaeology] so interesting," he said. "You never know what you are going to find. It is always a bit of an adventure."
Archaeological remains dated to the First Temple Period discovered on the Temple Mount

(Communicated by the Israel Antiquities Authority)During a recent archaeological inspection on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority over maintenance works of the Waqf, a sealed archaeological level probably dated to the First Temple Period was exposed in the area close the southeastern corner of the raised platform surrounding the Dome of the Rock. Archaeological examination of a short section of this level, undertaken by Yuval Baruch, the Jerusalem District Archaeologist, uncovered finds that included fragments of ceramic table wares and animal bones.

The finds are dated to the eighth to sixth centuries BCE. Yuval Baruch of the IAA, Prof. Sy Gitin, Director of the William F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, Prof. Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University and Prof. Ronny Reich of Haifa University examined the finds and the archaeological data and reached the conclusion that the characteristics and location of the finds may aid scholars in reconstructing the dimensions and boundaries of the Temple Mount during the First Temple Period. The finds include fragments of bowls, including 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. In addition, a piece of a white washed handmade object was found. It may have been used to decorate a larger object or may have been part of a figurine. An archaeological seminar concerning these finds and their archaeological interpretation will be organized by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

No comments: