Monday, September 19, 2016

Scientific American on the Temple Mount floor tiles

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN: Archeologists Restore Flooring that Adorned the Second Temple of Jerusalem. The finding gives a glimpse of the majestic detail of this long-lost edifice central to Jewish and Christian history (Debbie Ponchner). I don't think there's anything new in this article, but it covers what we know in an organized and clear way. I found this paragraph on how they identified the date and provenance of the tiles particularly helpful.
Besides coming from sediments taken from the Temple Mount, these floor tiles all display three characteristics that suggest they were part of the Second Temple complex, says Gabriel Barkay, cofounder and director of the Temple Mount Sifting Project. “First of all, all the measurements of the flooring tiles are following the fractions of the Roman foot (about 29.6 cm) and follow precisely that widely-used dimension that was in fashion at that time. Second, we have parallels, exact parallels, to these floors—and even to the individual stones and the stone formations—in Herod’s palaces in Masada, Herodium, in Jericho and elsewhere. That is quite firm. Third, the material of the stone tiles was imported from Italy, Greece, Tunisia and Asia Minor. These are colorful marbles with colored veins and patches, and this material was not imported to this land neither before nor after Herod the Great. The dating is secure.”
Cross-file under Temple Mount Watch. Background here and links.