It was reported today that the Islamic Wakf is digging large trenches on the Temple Mount. This is, of course, a very sensitive area, as the bedrock or any remains of the Herodian pavement would be located about 1 meter (3 feet) below the surface. Zachi Zweig, a Jerusalem archaeologist, protested that the Israel Antiquities Authorities allowed this to go ahead without archaeological supervision, which indeed is outrageous. Zachi observed that “Grey earth was removed from the dig, which indicates that it is archaeologically significant. In addition, signs of ancient architecture was exposed beneath the current platform slabs. It should be mentioned that the bedrock level at this location is very close to the current platform.” For pictures of the ditch that was dug, see here.
What ancient architecture might have been exposed? Only using plans and sections can we know what to expect. On the plan below, we see that the ditch cut through the area of the Temple Court, the inner porticoes, the Rinsing Chamber and the Hel (Terrace).
The section below shows similar information, but in particular how close the ditch is to any remains of the Herodian pavement that would be extant and those of the Rinsing Chamber.
These drawings demonstrate how important it is to have archaeological supervision wherever one digs, and to know the layout of the Herodian Temple Mount, as how otherwise can what is found be identified?
2 thoughts on “Digging the Temple Mount – how not to do it!”
Thanks for these constant real-time reports on the Temple Mount happenings. It’s good to know someone is keeping a careful watch on not only the ancient history of Har Habayit but history as its happening.
I really don’t know what better place to keep aprised of both the ancient and modern history of the Temple than your blog! Thank you!