Conical clay object from Temple Mount dating from the First Temple period (Photo: IAA)
(Communicated by the Israel Antiquities Authority)
During a recent archaeological inspection on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority over maintenance works of the Waqf, a sealed archaeological level probably dated to the First Temple Period was exposed in the area close the southeastern corner of the raised platform surrounding the Dome of the Rock.
Archaeological examination of a short section of this level, undertaken by Yuval Baruch, the Jerusalem District Archaeologist, uncovered finds that included fragments of ceramic table wares and animal bones. The finds are dated to the eighth to sixth centuries BCE.
Yuval Baruch of the IAA, Prof. Sy Gitin, Director of the William 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 bowls, including 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 found. It may have been used to decorate a larger object or may have been part of a figurine.
An archaeological seminar concerning these finds and their archaeological interpretation will be organized by the Israel Antiquities Authority.