Thursday, October 27, 2016

Temple Mount pottery display

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: Israel Displays First Temple-era Pottery Fragments Found on Temple Mount. State antiquities agency hopes disclosures will quell competing claims about work carried out at the holy site (Nir Hasson, Haaretz).
Discoveries found in situ on Temple Mount dating to the late First Temple period, excavated and collected by the Israel Antiquities Authority over the last 10 years, were displayed by the agency in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Other finds on display include the remains of a previously unknown monumental Muslim edifice that had been on the northern part of Temple Mount.

With these finds, the IAA hopes to refute that claims on the political right that archaeology on Temple Mount is in a state of anarchy, and also claims leveled by the Palestinians and UNESCO that Israeli archaeologists are party to damaging Muslim antiquities on the Temple Mount and are “Judaizing” Jerusalem.

Then there is some new information about an old story:
Come 2007, there was another incident in which the Waqf dug a channel to lay an electricity cable. Temple Mount activists and the Public Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount claimed that the Waqf had again destroyed archaeological finds on the Mount.

Following that incident, the state comptroller wrote a report on the cable project, but at the request of the government, the report remained sealed and confidential.

In a paper in publication, written with Dr. Ronny Reich and Deborah Sandhaus, Dr. Yuval Baruch, head of the Jerusalem District at the IAA, reveals that during the process of digging for the cable, a great number of archaeological finds were made and hastily excavated.

The excavations were carried out by IAA people on the site while the cable channel was being dug, with the acquiescence of the Waqf people, under spotlights (since the digging for the cable was being done at night).

The finds included pottery, broken bowls, cooking pots and pitchers dating to the late First Temple period (Kingdom of Judah). By them the excavators found animal bones and olive pits.

The pits were sent for carbon 14 dating, without revealing that their source was the Temple Mount, lest that fact influence the conclusions, Baruch told Haaretz.

The results complied with the dating of the pottery to around 2,500 to 2,600 years ago.
I covered the story of the cable excavation back when it happened here and here. It looks as though none of this important information was made public then. Past posts on the State Comptroller's report mentioned in the article are here, here, here, and links. Recent posts on the relevant UNESCO resolutions are here and here and links.