For the first time, archaeological remains dating to the First Temple period have been discovered on the platform of the Temple Mount.
During a recent archaeological inspection of the Temple Mount, carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority during maintenance work by the Waqf, a sealed archaeological level dating to the First Temple period was exposed in the area close to the south-eastern corner of the raised platform surrounding the Dome of the Rock. Archaeological examination of a small section of this level, undertaken by Yuval Baruch, the Jerusalem District Archaeologist, uncovered finds including fragments of ceramic table wares and animal bones. The finds are dated from the Eighth to the Sixth century BCE.
Yuval Baruch of the IAA, Prof. Sy Gitin, Director of the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, Prof. Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University and Prof. Ronny Reich of Haifa University, examined the finds and the archaeological data and reached the conclusion that the characteristics and location of the finds may aid scholars in reconstructing the dimensions and boundaries of the Temple Mount during the First Temple period.
The finds include fragments of bowl rims, bases and body sherds; the base of a juglet used for the ladling of oil; the handle of a small juglet and the rim of a storage jar. The bowl sherds were decorated with wheel burnishing lines characteristic of the First Temple Period. In addition, a piece of a white washed handmade object was discovered. It may have been used to decorate a larger object or may have been part of a figurine.
The Israel Antiquities Authority is the pre-eminent organization in the fields of Israeli and Biblical Archaeology. It is custodian of more than one million objects in the State Treasures, and the largest and most comprehensive collection of Dead Sea Scrolls in the world, including more than 15,000 Scrolls and Scroll fragments, as well as the entire collection of objects from the Qumran site excavations.
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