>The Temple Mount: Archaeological Discoveries

>Students of the Bible are particularly interested in the excavations being carried out in Jerusalem, especially in the area around the Temple Mount. An article published recently by The ChronicleHerald.com of Halifax, Nova Scotia gives a list of the items uncovered in the rubble removed from the Temple Mount. Among these are:

1. The imprint of a seal thought to have belonged to a priestly Jewish family mentioned in the Old Testament’s Book of Jeremiah.

2. A mother-of-pearl cross left by early Christians of the Byzantine period, with an engraving of the figure of Jesus.

3. Coins from the Jewish revolt that preceded the destruction of the Second Temple by Roman legions in 70 AD emblazoned with the words “Freedom of Zion.”

4. Arrowheads shot by Babylonian archers 2,500 years ago, and others launched by Roman siege machinery 500 years later.

5. Coins issued by the Muslim ruler who built the golden-capped Dome of the Rock in the seventh century.

6. A 19th-century Christian pendant struck by the Jesuit order, bearing the emblem of the holy grail.

7. A tiny Roman flask with images of a helmeted soldier and an elegantly coiffed woman.

8. A clay goat’s head from the Roman period, likely used to worship the god Pan.

9. A two millennia-old jar handle with the impression of a five-pointed star and the Hebrew inscription “Jerusalem.”

10. A sculpted stone from the frieze of a 2,000-year-old Herodian building — perhaps, archeologists suggest, from the temple itself.

The Washington Post has a longer article detailing the history and the controversy associated with digging in the Temple area. To read the article, click here.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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