Things are developing so rapidly in the world of Biblical Archaeology that I have decided to keep this blog. Here I will comment especially on issues related to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem, as that is my field of expertise. I have researched the problems of the Temple Mount for more than 30 years and feel passionately that the public needs to be informed on what has been called the tinderbox of the Middle East. In order to this, I hope to present a balanced view on issues that arise and welcome your comments.
Apart from Jerusalem, I have worked on many archaeological sites in Israel and Jordan, making publication plans and reconstruction drawings. I have also been involved in the design of Study Bibles and other projects that endeavour to illustrate the material culture and geographical background of the Bible.
Leen Ritmeyer, originally from Holland, is an archaeological architect who has been involved in all of Jerusalem’s major excavations. He was chief architect of the Temple Mount Excavations directed by the late Prof. Benjamin Mazar and of the Jewish Quarter Excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem directed by the late Prof. Nahman Avigad, both of the Hebrew University.
He directed prestigious restoration and reconstruction projects such as the Byzantine Cardo and the Herodian Villas in Jerusalem. He has also participated in numerous excavations all over Israel, producing site plans and reconstruction drawings.
His work has been published in many journals, magazines and books about Biblical Archaeology and has been shown in eminent museums, including the Israel Museum.
Together with his wife Kathleen, who he met on the Temple Mount Excavations in 1975, he runs a firm called Ritmeyer Archaeological Design (RAD), which produces teaching and learning tools used throughout the world and offers consultancy on archaeological background and illustration. Kathleen studied archaeology at University College Dublin and apart from the Temple Mount Excavations, has participated in excavations in Ireland, Scotland and Israel, She has a BA in Archaeology and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and has worked as an archaeological supervisor, teacher, translator, tour guide and writer. Her excellent writing skills have immensily enhanced their joint publications and the many projects RAD has been involved with.
Leen has lectured widely in Israel, Britain, Ireland, Germany, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand and featured as expert on Jerusalem and the Temple Mount on many T.V. and radio broadcasts. He taught Biblical Archaeology at the Universities of Leeds and Cardiff in the U.K. and is Associate Professor at the College of Archaeology & Biblical History, TSW University in Albuquerque NM, USA.
In 2006, his major work, The Quest, Revealing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, was published after thirty years of intensive research.
- Physical Education. Secondary Education Teaching Certificate, Christian Academy for Physical Education, Arnhem 1967.
- M.A. in Conservation Studies. Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies, University of York, England, the subject of his thesis being: “The Didactic Approach in Archaeological Restoration”, 1990.
- Ph.D. Faculty of Arts, University of Manchester, England, the subject of his thesis being:”The Architectural Development of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem”, 1992.
- 1973-’78 Surveyor and Field-architect of the archaeological expedition at the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, headed by the late Prof. Benjamin Mazar.
- 1973 (October) employed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the architectural survey of the Bashan.
- 1978-1980 Field-architect of the archaeological expedition at the Citadel of Jerusalem, led by Hillel Geva.
- 1978-’83 Field-architect of the archaeological expedition in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, headed by the late Prof. Nahman Avigad.
- 1974 Production of final plans and reconstruction drawings for the Tel Qasile Excavations, directed by Amihai Mazar.
- 1979 Mapping the topography and making reconstruction drawings of Tel Dor Excavations directed by Ephraim Stern.1983-’85 Chief Conservation assistant of the conservation and restoration of the Byzantine Cardo, the Broad Wall, the Ayyubid Tower and the Crusader Building in the Jewish Quarter, on behalf of the Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem.
- 1983 Reconstruction drawings of the Temple Scroll for Yigael Yadin.
- 1985 Designer of models of the gates at Tel Dan and Gezer for the Hebrew Union College on the request of Avraham Biran and William Dever.
- 1985-’87 Manager of the conservation and restoration of Herodian (Roman) villas in the Jewish Quarter, on behalf of the Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem.
- 1987-’88 Director of the conservation and restoration of Roman and Byzantine farm houses at Ramat Hanadiv on Mount Carmel in Israel, on behalf of Yad Hanadiv, the Rothschild Foundation in Israel.
- 1987-’89 Director of the conservation of Khan el-Ahmar, a Byzantine Monastery in the Judeaen Desert, on behalf of the Regional Council of Maaleh Adummim in Israel.
- 1996-2001 Archaeological Architect of Kh. Al-Makater (Bethel-Ai project) of the Associates for Biblical Research.
- 1997- Adjunct Professor of Biblical Archaeology at TSW University, Albuquerque NM, USA.
- 2001 Computer Graphic Consultant for the BBC1 series ‘The Son of God’.
- 1996-2002 Lecturer in Biblical Archaeology at the University of Leeds, U.K., teaching courses on the Archaeology of Jerusalem and the New Testament.
- 2002-’07 Teacher of Hebrew, History and Bible at Heritage College, Adelaide, South Australia.
- 2008-’13 Lecturer in Biblical Archaeology, Cardiff University, U.K., teaching courses on the Archaeology of Jerusalem, New Testament Archaeology and the Archaeology of Ancient Israel.
- 2007-’08 Archaeological and Architectural Reconstruction Editor for the ESV Study Bible and ESV Bible Atlas, Crossway, USA. Responsible for the design of new reconstruction drawings of the Ziggurat of Ur, the Tabernacle, its furniture and its court, Solomon’s Temple and Palace Complex, the Second Temple built by Zerubbabel, Herod’s Temple, Jerusalem in the time of David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Nehemiah and Christ and many city plans.
- 2008-’10 Consultant on History, Bible and Archaeology for GLO Digital Bible Project, Orlando FL, USA:
• Timeline events sequence review
• Captions content review
• Map overlay creation
• Dating range for locations in the atlas
• Empires mapping
• Reviewed and validated authenticity of the 1st Century illustrations for the Church of Holy Sepulcher, Banias, Capernaum, Jerusalem and Palatial Mansion.
- 2009- Archaeological Architect of the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project, Jordan, a joint scientific project between TSW University’s College of Archaeology & Biblical History (Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA) and the Department of Antiquities of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Publication plans of excavation areas and analysis of strata, reconstruction drawings of Tall el-Hammam and its buildings
- 2011-’12 Designer of new art work for Tyndale House Publishers’ Chronological Life Application Study Bible. Newly commissioned reconstruction drawings of the Tabernacle, Jerusalem in the Time of David, Solomon’s Temple, Jerusalem from Solomon to Hezekiah, Jerusalem in the First Century A.D. and the Tomb of Jesus.
- 2012-’13 Designer of illustrations and consultation on the reconstruction of Jerusalem and its famous landmarks throughout the ages for the Jerusalem filmed in iMax-3D project.
- 2012-’16 Archaeological Architect of Kh. Al-Makater (Bethel-Ai project) of the Associates for Biblical Research. Design and making of publication plans of excavation areas, based on the analysis of strata, including reconstruction drawings of Kh. Al-Makater and its buildings.
- 2014-’16 Designer of signage, consisting of maps and reconstruction drawings, for the archaeological site of Mansur el-Aqab, Ramat Hanadiv, Mount Carmel.
- 2016-2021 Consultant and Designer for the United Bible Societies’ Digital Project. Mapping of all the journeys in the Bible, supply of existing and design of newly commissioned images to accompany the biblical text, and the writing of timelines and captions.
- 2017 – Archaeological Architect and Conservator of Tel Shiloh for the Associates for Biblical Research. Design and making of publication plans of excavation areas, based on the analysis of strata, including reconstruction drawings of biblical Shiloh and its buildings.
- 2020-’21 Consultant and Designer for Immersive Bible, LLC, Orlando FL. Reconstruction drawings of Capernaum and design of 1st century houses. Reconstruction drawings of the interior and exterior of the 1st century synagogue. Design of 1st century garments based on archaeological information. Timeline of events in the life of Jesus.
- 2021 -’22 Consultant and Designer for Ascension Press. Supply of existing and design of newly commissioned images and the writing of captions to accompany the biblical text.
- 2022 – Historical Consultant for animated movie on the Life of Jesus, for Premise Entertainment .
- Researcher into the problem of the exact location of the Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Grant awarded by the Biblical Archaeology Society through the generosity of Joseph Hurley, Esq. and Ms. Davia Solomon, of North Hollywood, California, U.S.A.
- Post-doctoral researcher into the relationship between the Sakhra and the Holy of Holies of the Temple of Jerusalem. In Jerusalem.
Grant awarded by the Rothschild Foundation in Geneva, Switzerland.
- Recipient of grant from the Lamb Foundation (located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, NM, USA) to publish a book on The Archaeology of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
- K.& L. Ritmeyer, Reconstructing Herod’s Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Washington 1990.
- K.& L. Ritmeyer, “Reconstructing the Triple Gate”, in Biblical Archaeology Review 15,6, Washington, 1989.
- L. Ritmeyer,”Quarrying and Transporting Stones for Herod’s Temple Mount”, in Biblical Archaeology Review 15,6, Washington, 1989.
- L. Ritmeyer, The Didactic Approach in Archaeological Restoration, thesis submitted for the degree M.A. (Conservation Studies), University of York, 1990.
- L. Ritmeyer, “Locating the Original Temple Mount”, in Biblical Archaeology Review 18, 2, Washington, 1992.
- L. Ritmeyer, The Architectural Development of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, University of Manchester, UK, 1992.
- L. Ritmeyer, “The Ark of the Covenant, where it stood in Solomon’s Temple”, Biblical Archaeology Review Jan./Feb. ’96.
- L. Ritmeyer, The Temple and the Rock, Harrogate, 1996.
- L. & K. Ritmeyer, Secrets of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Washington DC, 1998.
- L. & K. Ritmeyer, From Sinai to Jerusalem, the wanderings of the Holy Ark, Jerusalem, 2000.
- L. Ritmeyer, ‘Ritmeyer responds to Jacobson’, in: ‘Where was the Temple?’, Biblical Archaeology Review 26.2, pp. 52-59, 2000.
- L. & K. Ritmeyer, The Ritual of the Temple in the time of Christ, Jerusalem, 2002.
- L. & K. Ritmeyer, Jerusalem in the year 30AD, Jerusalem, 2004.
- L. & K. Ritmeyer, Jerusalem in the time of Nehemiah, Jerusalem, 2005.
- L. Ritmeyer, The Quest – revealing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Jerusalem, 2006.
- L. & K. Ritmeyer, Secrets of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Updated & Enlarged Edition, Washington DC, 2006.
- L. Ritmeyer, “Envisioning the Sanctuaries of Israel – The Academic and Creative Process of Archaeological Model Making”, in: The Temple of Jerusalem: From Moses to the Messiah: Studies in Honor of Professor Louis H. Feldman, Brill, Leiden (2011).
- L. Ritmeyer, “The Restoration of the Byzantine Cardo in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem”, in: Jewish Quarter Excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem, Vol. 5, Israel Exploration Society, Jerusalem (2012).
- Ritmeyer, L., “Imagining the Temple Known to Jesus and to Early Jews”, in: Charlesworth, J.H. (ed), Jesus and the Temple, Textual and Archaeological Explorations, Minneapolis (2014).
- Ritmeyer, L. & K., Jerusalem in the Time of Nehemiah, 2nd edition, Jerusalem (2014).
- Ritmeyer, L. & K., Jerusalem in the Year 30 A.D., 2nd edition, Jerusalem (2014).
- L. Ritmeyer, “Beneath the Wailing Wall”, Book review of: “The Jerusalem Western Wall Tunnel” by Dan Bahat, Biblical Archaeology Review 40.6 Nov./Dec. 2014.
- L. & K. Ritmeyer, Jerusalem – The Temple Mount, A Carta Guide, Carta, Jerusalem, 2015.
- L. Ritmeyer, “Where on the Temple Mount was Jesus during Hanukkah?”, Artifax, 30.4, 22, 2015.
- L. & K. Ritmeyer, Understanding the Holy Temple of the Old Testament, from the Tabernacle to Solomon’s Temple & Beyond, Carta, Jerusalem 2016.
- L. & K. Ritmeyer, Understanding the Holy Temple Jesus Knew, Carta, Jerusalem 2017.
- L. Ritmeyer & S. Stripling, “Byzantine Ecclesiastical Complex”, in: The Excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir: 1995-2001 and 2009-2016, Vol. II, The Late Hellenistic, Early Roman, and Byzantine Periods, Archaeopress and Associates for Biblical Research, Oxford, 2023.
- L. Ritmeyer, “Design and Illustration”, in: What Can You Do with Your Bible Training? Traditional and Nontraditional Vocational Paths, Resource Publications, Eugene, Oregon, 2023.
PRODUCED RECONSTRUCTION DRAWINGS FOR THE FOLLOWING EXCAVATIONS
The Temple Mount, Jewish Quarter, City of David, Citadel, Damascus Gate, Ketef Hinnom, all in Jerusalem. The Temple Scroll.
Bashan, Tel Qasileh, Kanaf, En Nashut, Tel Dor, Judean Desert Monasteries, Tel Batash, Bet Shean, Tel Acco, Shiloh, Mt. Ebal, Chorazin, Kh. Minya, Qalat Nimrod, Hyrcania, Monastery of Martyrius , Tel Arad, Tel Beersheva, Meroth, Tel Dan, Gezer, Aroer, Ruheibe, Qumran, Masada, Tel Asdod, Hamat Gader, Ramat Hanadiv, Banias, (Caesarea Phillipi), Mt. Gerizim, Shechem (Nablus), Hebron, Alonei Mamre, Givat Olga (Tel Afar), Sussita, Emek Refaim, Tel Teo, Kypros, Nessana, Kh. el Maqatir, Shiloh, Tall al-Hammam, amongst others.
CONTRIBUTED TO THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTARIES
- The Dead Sea Scrolls Revealed – Logos
- The Son of God – BBC1
- Secrets of Jerusalem – Atlantic
- Jews, Romans and a Man Named Jesus – Chimera Productions
- Footsteps of Jesus – MPH Entertainment
- Pathways through Jerusalem – Superstudio, Jerusalem
- The Trial of Jesus – Providence Pictures
- Modern Marvels, Bible Tech – Actuality Productions
- Secrets of the Bible – The Search for Sodom
DESIGN OF ARCHITECTURAL MODELS OF ANCIENT SITES
- Bronze Age gate at Tel Dan (Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem)
- Iron Age gate at Gezer (Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem)
- Palatial Mansion in Jerusalem (Herodian Quarter, Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem)
- Herod’s Temple Mount in Jerusalem (private client in Washington DC)
- Herod’s Temple (private client in Washington DC)
- Herod’s Temple Mount in miniature (Ritmeyer Archaeological Design)
- Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem (private client in Washington DC)
- The Tabernacle and its court (private client in Washington DC)
- The Tabernacle (private client in Washington DC)
LECTURED AT THE FOLLOWING INSTITUTIONS
- University of Manchester
- University of London
- University of Oxford
- University of Sheffield
- University of York
- University of Leeds
- University of Hull
- University of Cardiff
- School of Architecture, University of Maryland MD
- Baltimore Hebrew University
- Jewish Community Centre of Greater Washington
- Wheaton College, Wheaton IL
- Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI
- Milwaukee Wisconsin Archaeology Society
- Madison Wisconsin Archaeology Society
- Near East Archaeology Society
- TSW University, Albuquerque NM (yearly seminars at International Symposium for Biblical Archaeology)
- University of Cincinnatti OH
- University of Judaism, Los Angeles, CA
- Penn State University, PA
- Near Eastern Archaeology Society
- Associates for Biblical Archaeology, Washington DC
- New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans LA
- Biblical Archaeology Society, Washington DC