Antiquities Authority names Temple Mount rubble finds


In response to a High Court petition filed in December by Yehuda Etzion, the head of Hai Vekayam, claiming that the Antiquities Authority wasn't looking seriously at remains from digging by the Wakf (Moslem Trust) on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, the authority yesterday gave the court a list of its finds.

The Wakf has been digging to open an emergency exit to the Marwani Mosque (Solomon's Stables) since early December, after receiving permission from Prime Minister Ehud Barak

The authority's inventory list was compiled by archeologist Yuval Baruch, whose finds filled 11 large baskets. Among Baruch's findings were nicely-cut building stones and fragments of stone that are likely from the Second Temple period; a limestone doorjamb from the Roman period, and a marble lattice.

Forty-two percent of the materials are Byzantine and early Islamic pottery shards, 20% from the Medieval Period, 13% from the early Roman period, 10.6% from the Iron Age, and 1.4% from the Hellenistic period. A remaining 13% is unidentifiable.

Baruch also found seven coins from the late Roman, Byzantine, early Islamic, and Ottoman periods.

'This is a post mortem. It shows us what the site was originally worth' before the digging, said archeologist Gabi Barkai, an expert on Jerusalem. 'These are parts of the body you can't do anything with.'

The report said that 'beyond the importance of the finds themselves, there isn't much significance to them' because the remains were destroyed by heavy machinery and their extraction had no archeological supervision.