Temple Mount relics saved from garbage
By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
On the grounds of a Jerusalem national park with a view of the Temple Mount, a small group of Israeli archaeologists and volunteers sifting through piles of rubble discarded by Islamic Wakf officials from the Temple Mount into a city garbage dump have recently uncovered a series of history-rich artifacts dating back to the First and Second Temple periods.
The five-month old privately-funded project underway at the site, which is being directed by Bar Ilan University archeology professor Dr. Gabriel Barkay, is being called virtually unprecedented since archaeological excavation has never been permitted on the Temple Mount itself.
Some important finds from the second temple period and earlier are noted:
The first coin recovered from the rubble was from the period of the First Revolt against the Romans that preceded the destruction of the Second Temple, he added.
The coin bore the phrase "For the Freedom of Zion," and was particularly meaningful as the Temple Mount was one of the epicenters of the fight against the Romans.
Other finds include a spout of a Hasmonean lamp, an assortment of arrowheads, an ivory comb, a ceramic flask, various first temple figurines, and numerous pottery oil lamps.
And this is a matter for concern:
The historical project underway is now in danger of going unfinished due to a lack of financial support, with the project director saying that the project will abruptly end in one week unless organizers receive urgent financial backing needed to complete the work.
If you know any millionaires looking for a tax break, now's the time to speak up.
It is a great pity that this has to be done by volunteers with private funds. The Israeli government needs to start making serious efforts to protect the archaeology of the site and to recover what can be recovered from the rubble of what has already been bulldozed and dumped.