First of all, I would like to apologize for not having blogged for a while. The reason is that our family has moved from Australia back to the UK. Some people move house, but our lot seems to be moving continents, which is very time consuming.
A few days ago it was announced that remains from the First Temple period were found in a dig close to the Western Wall, see for example here. It is always exciting and encouraging to read about new archaeological finds, especially when they are so close to the Temple Mount. A very interesting seal was found as well, bearing the name of Netanyahu ben Yaush. There has been a plethora of finds made recently, which prove that Israel did exist as a nation in the Land and especially in Jerusalem, during the Biblical periods.
The reporting, however, was not quite accurate. In this place these finds were reported as “FIRST-EVER”, namely, that this was the first time ever that remains from the Iron Age finds have been found so close to the Temple Mount. That, of course, is not the case. The southern part of the Western Wall has actually been built on a cemetery from the First Temple period. Some of these tombs were cut through when the drain below the Herodian street was constructed, see:
This drain was first discovered and recorded by Charles Warren in the 1860’s. In one particular place, just north of Robinson’s Arch, the foundations of the Western Wall were built inside a destroyed Iron Age tomb. One can’t get closer than that. Other Iron Age tombs were found in the Temple Mount excavations by the late Prof. Benjamin Mazar at a distance of some 25 meters from the Western Wall. Similarly, the Southern Wall was built over First Temple remains, in one particular place over an Iron Age cistern just below the Triple Gate.
As I said before, it is very exciting to read about these finds, but one could wish that the reporters would do their homework a little better. A blooper like this headline should never have been published.