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Book Week Campaign

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Fundraising, Fun, and Free Stuff

HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT:

Our main goal right now is to raise the money to be able to publish our own series of books about our research on the Temple Mount. So – in honor of Hebrew Book Week we are doing fun things, fundraising, and giving away free stuff.

  1. publication (3) copyFollow us on Facebook and share our Book Week Campaign Video. On June 25th we will choose one person who shared the video this week and give them a FREE 40 page book about the Sifting Project, our finds and research with full color pictures. It is great to show off to your friends.
  1. DONATE to our campaign THIS WEEK. If you donate over $50 or ₪200, in addition to the gifts you automatically receive, we are adding in FREE SIFTING for you and your family. (This promotion is good for one time use, up to 5 people, and is good for one year).
  1. Follow our Facebook page or Twitter feed this week and get a Recommended Book of the Day from our fantastic staff. Books on the Temple Mount, Archaeology, and Israel. Get your library cards out and your amazon account activated because you won’t want to miss this. At the end of the week, I will also make a new blog post with the complete list.

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How Else Can You Help?

If you can’t give to our campaign, help us network and connect with people who might be able to support our goal of publishing our finds. Please share our story and let people know that the work we are doing is unprecedented and has the potential of adding an immense amount of knowledge to our understanding of the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. Without publication, it will be as if our thousands of finds had never been found and our work over the last 11 years hadn’t happened. The dialogue about the Temple Mount needs our research, and we need YOU to help spread the word.

Thank You

“On the first of the month of Adar a proclamation is made about the [giving of the] shekalim …” (Shekalim 1:1)

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We are still very far from the goal of funding the full publication of the finds from Sifting Project. We still don’t understand the significance of most them. Publishing these artifacts will shed more light on the long history of this sacred site, and hopefully contribute to the resolution of many debates related to this site.

We could reach this goal only with the help of the large crowd who supports this project.
Please help share and distribute this video.

Searching for Volunteers to Translate text into Variety of Languages

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We are searching for volunteers for translating English text into a variety of language, for a new crowd funding website. Its about 4000 words.
More languages the website will be available in, the wider international awareness to the project and the significance of the Temple Mount antiquities will be spread.
Volunteers may contact us at tmsifting@gmail.com

Update on Recent Developments at the Sifting Project

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The number of visitors/volunteers at the Sifting Project has been increasing year by year and also the volume of the material that has been sifted. To date we have sifted about half of the debris that is on hand. This means that we have at least ten more years of sifting. This is without taking into account the large amount of dirt that is lying in heaps in the eastern olive grove on the Temple Mount and has not yet been removed due to a Supreme Court ruling from 2004.

The sifting site continues to develop, and recently we have installed new permanent restrooms, another office for staff use, and a newly upgraded green house. Also we have expanded the seating in the introduction hall.

Gal Zagdon, the archaeologist who managed the daily work at the sifting site for the past six years, announced last week that he is retiring from archaeology and will be leaving us soon. Gal will leave a large vacant space that will be difficult to fill in, and we wish him good luck in his future occupation. We will give more details about his retirement in the future.

Currently, our research efforts are dedicated to sorting and analyzing the prevalent finds. We are about to complete the basic chronological and typological sorting of the one hundred thousand pottery rims we gathered so far! Soon, we will begin an in-depth high resolution typological sorting and statistical analysis of the pottery, which quite certainly will yield very interesting information and knowledge. Already now, we are gathering valuable information from the basic sorting of the pottery. It appears that we have evidence of the presence of activity on the Temple Mount during the Middle Bronze and Late Bronze ages. Although the number of pieces of pottery from these periods is small, they should not be neglected. There is also clear presence of activity during the Iron IIA period (the time of Kings Solomon, Asa, Jehoshaphat and Joash), during the time between the two Jewish Revolts against the Roman (70-132 CE). The Byzantine period pottery appears in abundance, and from the Early Moslem period we have evidence of pottery production.

The analysis of the coins is in its final phase, and it appears that we are have recovered some very rare coins, including a – Crusader gold coin, ours being only the second of its type found in the world. In addition, the study of the following subjects are close to being completed : opus sectile floor tiles, arrowheads, horseshoe nails, construction nails, roof tiles, bone objects, glass bracelets and rings, beads, stone vessels, and glazed wall tiles. We are beginning to see the light in the end of the tunnel.

Recently, several unique and interesting finds were discovered, but it is difficult to give more details about them at this stage, since they require further in-depth study. But among these are bullae with Greek inscriptions (one from the Hellenistic period and the second is probably Byzantine), Late Bronze scarabs and scarabs impressions, unique anepigraphic bullae, a rare bronze arrowhead that seems to date to the Iron Age I-IIA (the Jebusite period until the time of King Solomon), stone weights from the First Temple Period (which may give us new information regarding the standard weight of the “holy shekel” that was used in the Temple), fragments of architectural elements from the time of the Hasmonean and the Herodian dynasties, many Christian crosses and crucifixes made of iron, bronze and mother-of-pearl, evidence of a bone objects industry during the Late Roman period, a rare Ottoman seal of the grand Mufti of Jerusalem during the 18th century (‘Abd al-Fatah al Tamimi), and British military insignia.

The things mentioned above are just a small glimpse of the great abundance of finds we managed to gather during the sifting so far, and the research work is long and tedious. This is the reason we do not publish more frequently and with more details, so we apologize for that. As the research has advanced, the time necessary and the number of tasks to be completed have significantly increased, so we are now working on further fund raising for the research and publication tasks.

In addition, we continue to give sifting services to other excavations, and recently some very exciting finds were discovered during our sifting of the material from the IAA excavations in the City of David, which will be published by the IAA excavators in the future. Only last week we received a large amount of dirt from the renewed excavations in Lachish directed by Prof. Yossi Garfinkel. From the finds already recovered at the field itself, it seems that the sifting of this soil will be worthwhile and promising.

To date, the Sifting Project has proven to be very important for the elaboration of the history of the Temple Mount. Even now we have new information that may well change the written history of some of the periods of the Temple Mount.

Stone Weights from the First Temple Period

Stone Weights from the First Temple Period

Opus Sectile floor tiles from Temple Mount courts during the Herodian Period

Opus Sectile floor tiles from Temple Mount courts during the Herodian Period

Roman Arrowheads from the Late Second Temple Period

Roman Arrowheads from the Late Second Temple Period

An assortment of jewelry from various periods.

An assortment of jewelry from various periods.

Grand Re-opening of the Temple Mount Sifting Project

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On Thursday, January 2, the Temple Mount Sifting Project will celebrate its grand re-opening.  Over the past three weeks, our giant tent has undergone a dramatic change.  After our greenhouse was crushed by Jerusalem’s extraordinary snowstorm in mid-December, it was necessary to totally dismantle the entire tent structure and erect a brand new tent.  Thankfully, our insurance coverage has provided us with a larger, stronger and much more serviceable workplace. 

Even though we cringed when we first saw the damage after the storm, we were pleasantly surprised to find that much of the infrastructure survived unscathed.  Our presentation board with its rotating pictures stood undamaged, even as the ribs of the tent frame were bent over it by the weight of the snow.  Although the legs of our artifacts display table in the center of the tent collapsed and broke, the display board itself with all the artifacts and information labels remained in one piece – and the glass top did not even crack!  In our small archaeologist’s storage room at the back of the tent, the shelves tilted and bent, but all our artifacts stored in bags, buckets and boxes remained unharmed. And not one bucket of artifacts, out of the hundreds stored in the tent, was overturned.

We welcome you to come celebrate the beginning of 2014 with us in our new greenhouse, and help us continue to our work of uncovering the history of the Temple Mount.

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Major Damage to the Sifting Site from the Snow Storm

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The latest snow storm in Israel has caused major destruction to the Sifting Project site. The greenhouse frame could not hold the weight of the snow that gathered above it and totally collapsed. Much of the equipment and infrastructure installations were destroyed. We have had some storms in the past that caused damage, but this one caused the worst destruction of them all. Our presentation wall, display table, many sifter screens, light and sound equipment, furniture, etc. were all crushed under the collapse of the greenhouse iron frame and the snow above it. It will take us some time until we will be able to restore the sifting site to its previous state.

Our Hebrew Blog in Now Online

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The Hebrew Speakers among our readers are invited to visit and subscribe to our new Hebew blog that is now online at: http://tmsifting.org

A Letter from Dr. Ron Beals Sharing his Experience in the Sifting Project

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Temple Mount Sifting Project

By Dr. Ron Beals, Volunteer

January 6, 2009 Jerusalem Israel


  While many people consider Monday a “blue day” this past one (yesterday) was utterly tremendous. It was a very cool (30° F) morning as I set out for the Temple Mount Sifting Project.  This project is located in Emek Tzurim.  This area is better known to many by the New Testament Name of the Valley of Jehosephat.  It is located between Mount Scopus and the Mount of Olives. 

  Since we were expecting guests at the site I decided to walk to the local supermarket to get some bourekas to have with our “morning tea.” The aroma in the market bakery was totally overwhelming but I restrained myself and finally boarded bus 19 to the Hebrew University where I would begin the mile long walk down the hill to the work site. 

  O arrival, I deposited my treasures in the office and saw Dr. Gabby Barkay, Dr. Kay Prag (an English archeologist with special experience in Israeli and Jerusalem exploration) and Dr. Scott Stripling a volunteer at the site who teaches archeology at a Sugarland, TX school. Dr. Barkay is the Professor of Archeology at both the Bar Ilan and Hebrew Universities.  He is well known in international circles for his archeological work as well as for being the director of this reclamation project. 

  Dr. Prag was here to investigate the work that is being done. They were soon joined by Zachi Zweig, one of the primary investigators and the major instigator of this project.  He has done extensive investigation on Temple Mount archeology. 

  Ater their tour through the project we all took a break for tea and were treated to a two hour discussion and commentary on the archeological endeavors in Israel, in Jerusalem and specifically what had been done near the Temple Mount. The names of notables like Robinson, Robert Hamilton, Kathleen Kenyon and others were flying around like “old friends.” 

  As the discussion continued Dr. Prag was extolling the great work that Dr. Barkay and Zachi Zweig were doing.  Then Dr. Barkay made a comment that was absolutely astonishing. 

It seems that all the extensive work that has been done has been in the vicinity of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.  But there have never been any real archeological digs on the Temple Mount itself or dealing with artifacts from the Temple Mount. 

  There are many academic flaws with this project since the materials have been removed by the Islamic Wakf and are not located at the original site.  Yet, the work of this project is the first evaluation of materials and artifacts directly from the Temple Mount and therefore of extraordinary importance. 

  For centuries after the destruction of the Temple, either foreign rulers or the Islamic Wakf have forbidden any work on the mount itself. In addition they have never allowed access to the site or to anything underground. 

  Now, for the very first time, this project is sifting, finding and evaluating artifacts that were excavated from the Temple Mount by the Moslem Wakf and deposited in a Jerusalem valley.  There were no archeologists to oversee these activities nor was there any assessment of the damage that this destruction was doing to the Temple Mount and it’s history.

  To me this was a stunning revelation. I have read Biblical Archeology Review and other information about the Temple and the Temple Mount. But I had never realized or thought about the fact that at no time had anyone been allowed the opportunity to actually explore the site itself or look at the artifacts that were there. It seems ironic that the most significant place for Judaism and Christianity has never had the opportunity to be scientifically and archeologically scrutinized by experts. 

  What is perhaps even more ironic is that this project has and is being funded almost exclusively by private donations.  However because of the current state of economics and the world political situation, the funding has almost “dried up.” 

  During the past few months the funding for this has been dramatically reduced and they have had to terminate a large number of the staff.  They have continued this project mainly with volunteers and a skeleton staff. Last year at this time there were usually about six or more staff members working diligently daily. Now there are usually two to three members. 

  One of the truly wonderful aspects of this project has been the educational component. There is a small area designated for groups to come to visit. Frequently both school and tour groups come to where they can experience the artifacts that have been removed from the very “House of God” from Solomon’s and Herod’s times.  

  School groups are actually being taught the validity of the Biblical account and that this land and particularly this Temple Mount was existent and is their heritage. They also have the opportunity to experience the project by helping sift through buckets of dirt and rocks and find real artifacts. The response is dramatic. 

 It is my hope that some may find this work important enough to help support these efforts. For those who would like to see more about what they have done go to: http://tmsifting.org/en/ .

 

Ronald D. Beals, MD

 

IN ISRAEL: 12A Mendele, Jerusalem, 050-881-4136

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IN US: East Texas Biblical Prophecy Forum

9030 Old Hickory Rd.Tyler, TX 75703, 903-561-6274

The First Commercial in the History for an Archaeological Project

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Ir-David Foundation has produced a commercial for promoting participation of groups in the sifting project. I believe it is the first commercial ever that was produced to promote an archaeological excavation.

Here is the video: More