The Biblical Archaeology Society has just published a report on the Temple Mount destruction by Zachi Zweig. On a plan which I had made several years ago, the route of the trench has been plotted and areas where important finds were made are noted in color. Transferring this information unto my latest plan of the Temple Mount, which has the Herodian Temple complex superimposed, one can see where these finds are located.
Bedrock has been observed inside and to the north of the northern gate of the Court of the Women and also south of the southern Soreg. The Soreg is a division wall, inside of which no gentiles were allowed.
A section of pavement, probably belonging to Herod’s extension of the Temple Mount to the south, has been found to the east of the El Aqsa mosque.
The most important remains, however, are the remains of the foundation of a wall. Several photographs of this foundation wall can be seen in this report. As I noted in my previous blog post, if the trench continued south of the eastern stairway leading to the Muslim platform, it would cut through the Chamber of the House of Oil, and that is exactly what has happened. The Chamber of the House of Oil is the south-western one of the four courts which were built at the four corners of the Court of Women. Here we see then the remains of the Court of the Women, a place from which most of the Temple visitors would have been able to watch the rituals of the Temple.
This destruction shows how close the bedrock is below the surface and therefore any archaeological remains can easily be damaged. How much more information could have been gleaned if this trench had been excavated by archaeologists!