How to Participate in the Sifting?

How Does It Work?

Participation in the Temple Mount Sifting Project is a two hour program which includes an introductory lecture and sifting guidance, the sifting itself and a summary during which the guide explains the significance of finds recovered by the group. Each bucket sifted contains artifacts from all historical periods of the Temple Mount.

The sifting work does not require physical exertion and participants are not expected to get dirty, but they may get wet. Site conditions are suitable for all seasons of the year.

Participants should book in advance.

Important Note: The Temple Mount Sifting Project has moved and is no longer in our former facility at Zurim Valley National Park, which continues to operate as an archaeological sifting facility for soil from other sites (not the Temple Mount).


Update: Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, our activity is limited in keeping with official health care restrictions. The sifting is being conducted in accordance with social distancing guidelines.

In addition, we are now offering additional sifting activities, such as Remote Sifting and Mobile Sifting that will reach your community (in Israel). See further details below.

Further Details

Visits should be reserved in advanced.  Updated opening hours appear in the booking interface below.

Summer:

Sun-Thurs: 9am – 5pm\6pm
*Fri: 9am – 1pm

Winter:
Sun-Thurs: 8am – 4pm (last entrance at 2pm)
*Fri: 9am – 1pm (last entrance at 11am)

* On Fridays the site is open only if the date is visible in the bookings table (the site is opened for bookings if a group of at least 25 participants has booked). For smaller groups and individuals it is recommended to try and book a Friday activity several days before.

35₪ for adults (aged 18 and above).

20₪ for children aged 7-17.

100₪ for a family ticket (1-2 parents/grandparents + up to 6 teenagers/children).

40₪ Joint Ticket: Sifting + Ammunition Hill Museum (for age 7-17)

Free entrance for children under age 7.

The sifting site is located in Mitzpeh HaMasuot, on Martin Buber St on the junction with Yizhaq haNadiv St (above the tunnel to Maaleh Adumim) , Jerusalem (google maps link). If you are experiencing difficulty in reaching the site, call the staff on 02-566-5491 (from a non-local telephone: +972-2-566-5491) or at our archaeology lab: 02-566-7067 (from a non-local telephone: +972-2-566-7067).

By public transport:

The site is a short walking distance from the following bus stops:

“Martin Buber/Har HaTsofim Tunnel, on buses 17, 19, 19A, 30, 34, 34A, 42, 48A, 53, 68

“Har HaTsofim Tunnel/Martin Buber”, on bus 84

By car:

Directions to parking lots in the vicinity of the sifting site:

Paid parking – in the Hebrew University parking lot, at the end of Binyamin Mazar St. (google maps link / waze link) – to pay you will need the cellopark application on your mobile phone. After parking, cross the street in the direction of the sifting site which is surrounded by a fence of metal poles. A brown sign points to the site.

Free parking – in Hadassah Lampel St. (google maps link / waze link). Park at the beginning of the street, then return by foot to the start of the street, turn right and right again towards the sifting site entrance. N.B. do not walk in the direction of the Emek Zurim national park.

Please note – you cannot drive in the reverse direction directly back from the sifting site itself to Hadassah Lampel St.

Map - directions to the sifting site

Remote Sifting is an interactive archaeological activity through a live video conversation (via Zoom or WhatsApp) between the participant and the archaeologist in the field. The call is private and can be conducted with a single participant or with a group using a single connection. During the interaction, the participant will receive various explanations about the Sifting Project, the process of sifting, and the artifacts. The participant views a sifting screen filled with Temple Mount material together with the archaeologist nearby, and can choose which bucket to sift and direct the archaeologist to lift and inspect the different objects he sees through the video session.

The Remote Sifting activity lasts about half an hour, and is conducted in the following steps:

  • Initial introduction to the accompanying archaeologist and a short explanation of the activity.
  • Choosing a bucket of soil to be sifted, and placing it into the sifting screen.
  • Washing off the dirt together with the archaeologist.
  • Examining the objects remaining on the sifting screen, and gathering the artifacts found therein.
  • Listening to the archaeologist’s explanation of the artifacts found during your activity, and a presentation of the finds of the week.
  • Q&A with the Archaeologist.

Booking this activity is done by our reservation system below. The price is ₪90.

Cannot arrive at the sifting , but really want to participate?

The sifting will come over to your place! Schools, senior living and nursing homes and other communities are welcome to invite us to conduct the sifting at their own venue. The activity includes a full presentation about the sifting project and its archeological finds to all members of the community (including a display of some actual select finds)!

The sifting is carried out according to Health Ministry regulations. The equipment is constantly being sanitized, participants have to wear face masks and gloves, and to work at a distance from each other, and the activity takes place outdoors.

For further information, prices, and reservation of the activity at your location please contact us at: booking@tmsifting.org

We are happy to accept volunteers, but since we need to invest in training volunteers, we ask potential volunteers to commit to at least fourteen days of work, and to be prepared to carry out work involving physical effort or office work (such as labeling pottery sherds). Volunteers at the site receive three days of training, which enable them to accompany groups and check the sifting results of visitors.

We do not provide transport or meals for volunteers, who are asked to make their own way to the site and to bring their lunch.

Please arrange voluntary work in advance, by calling us on +972-2-566-7067 during work hours, or by email: contact@tmsifting.org.

Volunteers who would like to volunteer at our lab are may apply by sending their resume/CV to: contact@tmsifting.org. We will make contact with you if you meet the necessary requirements.

We are currently looking for help in the following areas: counting artifacts and data entry, studio photography, graphical editing and programming in ACCESS and SAS.

Archaeological students interested in helping out voluntarily as research assistants are likewise welcome to send us their resume.

For groups who wish to receive an enriched activity and a guided tour, we can provide the following programs:

  • A tour of nearby sites including: the Augusta Victoria lookout tower, the Yehudai Lookout and the Mount Scopus botanical garden, including the Cave of Nicanor.
  • An in-depth presentation covering the history and archaeology of the Temple Mount, including key artifacts recovered by the sifting project.
  • A full day walking tour highlighting the archaeology of the Temple Mount, including: A comprehensive archaeological tour of the Temple Mount*, the royal compound at the Ophel dated to the First Temple Period and the Jerusalem Trail (including the monumental tombs of the Kidron Valley, the Valley of the Kings and the Emek Tzurim National Park, ending at the sifting site at the Masu’ot Lookout). At the sifting site the group will receive an in-depth presentation on the Temple Mount Sifting Project and its finds, together with participation in the sifting activity.

*For those preferring not to enter the Temple Mount we offer an alternative tour including a walk around the Temple Mount’s walls and the Davidson Center.

For additional information regarding these programs please contact us at booking@tmsifting.org or +972-2-5667067

Mitzpeh HaMasu‘ot (The Masu’ot Lookout)

The new sifting facility is located in a scenic pine grove at the meeting point of Mount Scopus and the Mount of Olives, not far from the Hebrew University campus.

The site is positioned on top of the mountain range separating Jerusalem from the Judean Desert and provides a magnificent panoramic view of the city. During the Second Temple Period, the first beacon (Masu’ah), announcing the birth of the new Hebrew month, was lit in this area. The site, with its convenient picnic tables and bathroom facilities, is often utilised by sightseers exploring the area. The site’s auditorium building also houses a painting exhibition as well as a display of some of the Temple Mount artifacts discovered in the sifting project.

Other nearby attractions to enjoy include the lookout tower at the Augusta Victoria church-hospital which provides a magnificent view of Jerusalem and the Judean Desert (open until 1 pm), the beautiful botanical garden at the Hebrew University’s Mt Scopus campus, which also contains the burial tomb of Nicanor who famously donated gates to the Temple, and the Yehudai Lookout facing the Judean Desert. Mitzpeh HaMasu’ot is also the starting point of the Jerusalem Trail.

Testimonials

As Tour Hosts to Israel, the Temple Mount Sifting Project is a marvelous experience for our travelers!  The “hands-on experience,” while sifting through history is always a highlight for participants.  This new location provides a great view of Jerusalem and the staff are knowledgeable and helpful in broadening our understanding of the work of archeologists while helping to preserve history.  Every bucket sifted is filled with potential and the anticipation of what will be found is exciting for each participant.  We highly recommend this opportunity for all!

The Temple Mount Sifting Project was an extraordinary experience. It was a wonderful addition to our tour of Israel and it also was a way for me (us) to be a part of the history of the country. Each of us learned the importance of uncovering possible ruins and antiquities and I was delighted at how much fun it was for all. Everyone really “dug in” and got so excited as they uncovered even the smallest of finds. Time flew by too quickly. It was interesting, fun, a huge learning experience, and a wonderful way to give back to the Temple Mount. Thanks so much to the terrific leaders of the TMSP. They inspired us!

Participating in the Temple Mount Sifting Project was an exciting way to experience the work of an archeologist while helping find artifacts which continue to shape our understanding of the history of Israel. Plus, it was a lot of fun imagining what each piece of clay pottery or mosaic tile would have been a part of.

When I found out we would have the opportunity to take part in this I was incredibly excited. The fact that we were searching through piles of history that were removed from the Temple Mount was surreal. Each find we made was exciting, whether small or large. It brought history to life for me, and I could easily have spent so much more time there! The staff were great – friendly with a wealth of information.

On a recent trip to Israel, we had the pleasure of participating in the newly revived Temple Mount Sifting project.  After watching an informative introductory video, we were led to a comfortably shaded area (hard to find in the hot Jerusalem summer!). The staff archeologist (Yoav) and his on-site staff then showed us how to sift out the treasures from the rubble.  Our little group of three found some fascinating little items like a fish bone, a nail, a piece of mosaic, a piece of Ottoman pipe and copious amounts of pottery pieces.  We also learned how to discard pretty, but archeologically speaking useless rocks and how to recognize modern cement.  The other teams from our tour group and the young families with children at other stations near by seemed to having just as much fun.  Someone even found an ancient coin.  Before we left, Yoav debriefed the group on the significance of some of the finds.  For them the hard work of cataloguing is just beginning. For us it was fun, educational and very relaxing.  A great way to spend an hour or two or even a whole summer.

I was very impressed with the Temple Mount sifting project & would recommend it to other groups . We had knowledgeable people informing us about the project and a geologist on site that could identify what era particles came. It was well organized and novices & children could participate. As we washed& sifted through our bucket of rubble we had help in identifying pottery, Mother of Pearl to ancient coins. The valuable things were sorted & sent to the University for further identification

My family loves this activity! We’ve done this 3 times over the past few years. Thank you for having us again Yuval, Esther, Lev and team!

One of our favorite family activities in Jerusalem. Great group of people. Great cause. Great learning experience for the kids. The adults have a blast, too!

Book Your Sifting Now

* For same-day visits, you may call 02-566-5491 (from a non-local telephone: +972-2-566-5491)

For further information please contact us at: booking@tmsifting.org