Digging the Temple Mount – Inside the Dome of the Rock

Launching this series of postings on what you would find if you could excavate the Temple Mount, we begin by imagining what we would see if the Dome of the Rock were suddenly to disappear.


The dome of the Rock

If you examine the drawing in my recent post “Digging the Temple Mount –An Introduction”, you see that the uppermost contours of Mount Moriah would become visible. Not only would the Rock or Sakhra (which the Moslems call the Sacred Rock on which, according to them, Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac) stand out as the peak of this mountain of destiny, but the surrounding rock levels, now covered over by the floor of the seventh century mosque and its dome-bearing pillars would be exposed.
Digging is, of course, out of the question, but in the past certain circumstances have provided a revealing glimpse into what lies beneath the now sumptuously carpeted floor. One such circumstance was in 1873 when repair work took place (observed by the French archaeologist Clermont-Ganneau), which showed that the bedrock was located about 1 m. (3 feet 3 inches) below the present floor-level. This would mean that the rock would stand to a height of 2.75 m. (9 feet) above the surrounding bedrock (“bedrock” is an archaeological term for the rocky mountain itself).
Another opportunity arose in 1959, when Bellarmino Bagatti, an Italian Franciscan scholar, made observations during the extensive repair work that was carried out inside the Dome of the Rock. At that time, the areas near the dome-bearing pillars and other places were excavated down to bedrock. This was done so that concrete could be poured around the pillars to strengthen them.


The bedrock is visible at the bottom of this picture

Bagatti took some illegal photographs which provide valuable evidence and wrote up his findings in a booklet called Recherches sur le site du Temple de Jerusalem (Research on the site of the Temple of Jerusalem). He observed that the bedrock adjacent the Rock inside the Dome of the Rock was rather flat and only started to dip near the outer walls.


The Rock (Sakhra) stood high above its surroundings


When Herod the Great built the new Temple, he first took away the old Temple and cleared the area down to the rock. He then built a podium 6 cubits (3.15 m, 10 feet) high around the Rock, so that only the bare top projected 3 fingers high above the pavement of the Temple. This podium was lined with massive foundation stones, while the inside was filled with large stones.


Laying the foundation for Herod’s Temple

These massive stones would have been placed on level bedrock and this flat bedrock would have been ideal for this construction. Outside these walls, the bedrock would have sloped down and that is exactly what Bagatti observed.

Further and extensive details on how Herod’s Temple and its predecessor, Solomon’s Temple, were built around the Sacred Rock may be found in my book “The Quest – Revealing the Temple in Jerusalem.”

6 thoughts on “Digging the Temple Mount – Inside the Dome of the Rock”

  1. The date you use above for Bagatti should perhaps be 1959 rather than 1859. He was a venerable old man when he died in 1990, but not quite as old as your refernce would suggest!! Glad he took the photos for our benefit.

  2. Thank you, we are looking forward to reading these, just got my hands on Mum & Dad’s copy of The Quest and will be beginning it, God willing, tonight!

  3. Dear Sir or Ms: Being of Jewish descent I take great concern as to the situation surounding the “temple Mount”. After many many hours of studying and learning concerning the site , it occurred to me that what is happening there and has been happening there is falling into
    G*d’s plan. I speak of the “unauthorized” repairs and excavations that are taking place daily in the area. I am truly convinced that the Jewish community who are against such happenings are not thinking correctly in this regard. We know the history and to some degree the nature of how G*d deals with those who are against HIM. HE usually allows them to “dig thier own graves” and the enemies of G*d’s choosen are always destroyed. Knowing this as it pertains to what is happening at the Mount, then we can assume there is a purpose that G*d has in “allowing ” this to happen. I truly believe, after hours of prayer and studying that the reason is simply this. They are destoying the mount piece by piece. The temple will be destoyed either through natural disaster or through the extensive renovations that is taking place. When it falls HIS people will build G*d’s temple on the rock.I am so surprised that our people even allowed it to have fallen in the enemies hand in the first place. Maybe that is the price we are paying for being too “frightened” to stand for what G*d gave us in the first place. HE will only give it back , when we grow some back bone again. Our stength comes from HIM not from how big our armies are or who are our allies.We either believe G*d is “all Powerfull or not.ONE man who prays to G*d from his heart, who finds favour in HIS eyes has more power then all the armies in the world, if G*d wishes to act upon HIS will. We well know that G*d listens to any man who strives to know HIM and follow HIS ways.We will get our temple back very soon, but we must be prepared to have conviction in sustaining the rightfull ownership of our temple.We must “first” learn to depend on G*d for everything “again”, and follow HIS ways. Our precious people must be unified once again.

  4. Hi, You have got some facts wrong. Muslims do belive this is a sacred rock but not because Abrahim(Peace be upon him) prepared to sacrifice his son Issac. It is sacred because our Prophet Mauhammad (peace be upon him) was taken to heavens from here. Also Muslims believe Prophet Abraham prepared to sacrifice his older son “Ismail” not “Issac” and that whole episode is remembered and celebrated every year during the festival of Eid-ul-Adha during the Hujj season.

    A little bit of authentic reasearch will bring more credibility to your site.

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