Prof. Ronny Reich, a prominent archaeologist of ancient Jerusalem who has excavated extensively in the Old City and its surroundings, told The Times of Israel on Thursday that because the mixed pile of dirt has been taken out of its original context, it has “limited value” as an archaeological site. He noted, however, that its artifacts offer an important statistical analysis of the periods of human settlement on the mount, quite apart from any rare inscriptions or art that may be found in the pile.This long and thoroughly researched article follows up the two blog posts on the subject by archaeologist Zachi Dvira at the Temple Mount Sifting Project Blog. I noted those here and here. This article gives lots of background and additional details. You should read it all.
“It is impossible to just leave it lying [in the Aqsa compound]. It needs to be treated [properly], and the head of the IAA needs to speak up on its behalf,” said Reich, who was among the founding management of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Last week, Muslim volunteers of all ages were filmed on the Temple Mount raking earth and carving out an improvised staircase leading to the top of one of the two dirt mounds on the eastern side of the compound. There, they used stone planks they found inside the mound to build benches and tables.
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