The last bucket of KI4 being sifted
Three weeks ago we finished sifting the soil from area KI4, and in the coming days we will be finishing the preliminary sorting and registering of the finds from this area. Finishing the sifting of this area was very meaningful because it marked the end of the prevalent finds The last bucket of KI4 being sifted by many staff memberssamples that will be included in The last bucket of KI4 being sifted by many staff membersthe analysis and publication.
All the prevalent finds that will be retrieved in the future will be saved for future studies, but special finds will be published in the final publication volume or in articles in archaeological journals. We celebrated the sifting of the last bucket by having all the staff members that day participate in its sifting.
It has been more than two years that we have been intensively working on the analysis of the prevalent finds, which included mainly the sorting of the pottery rims (the rim is the most indicative part of the pot). We’re about the end of the first phase of the pottery sorting, which includes general time periods and classes (jars, bowls, cooking pots, etc.). The next phase will include further detailed typological sorting within each class.
Peretz Reuven sorting pottery at the lab
The study of the finds from the Temple Mount debris is a very complicated prolong task, but on the other hand it is a great challenge. In some ways it is like a gigantic puzzle with hundreds of thousands of pieces, but unlike most puzzles, the whole picture does not reveal itself gradually; it can only be revealed after the last piece has been put in place. That is because only after sorting all of the finds from each area will we have adequate samples for the statistical analysis. In addition, the sorting is done by experts in various archaeological periods. Much of the work has already been completed, but much more detailed work lies ahead of us, and it will take some time until we will start seeing meaningful results.
Gal Zagdon sorting ancient iron nails at hte lab
Temple Mount News
Yesterday the Waqf began a new small scale construction dig just a few meters from the northwest side of the Dome of the Rock. The purpose of the work was to expose an old water pipe in order to replace it.
Today we visited the site and found out that they dug out a trench about 20 m long and 1/2 m deep. The work was done manually under police and Antiquities Authority supervision. No ancient architectural remnants were noticed in the trench by us or by the inspector. At the south end of the trench we noticed some earth with a red-brown color. If this is indeed a sign of the terra rossa soil layer, this means they might have penetrated a layer that predates the First Temple destruction.
- A Water Pipe Trench North-West the Dome of the Rock
- Terra rosa soil at the south edge of the trench
From the trench they removed several cubic meters of debris , and, unfortunately, they discarded it on top of the debris heaps on the east side of the Temple Mount compound. We found this dump and briefly examined it. The soil was very wet so it was difficult to notice pottery shards, but we did find two fragments of glazed Ottoman tiles that were probably removed from the Dome of the Rock in one of the renovations in the last century.
Debris from the water pipe trench discarded on top of the debris heaps from other digs
This could be a unique opportunity to examine a sample of Temple Mount soil from the site of the Temple. Unfortunately, the authorities do not give much importance to the potential of this soil, as shown in the Sifting Project, otherwise it would have been dumped in a separate secure place. In spite this issue, it seems like the authorities this time were alert and insisted on enforcing the antiquities laws at the site.
The latest November issue of National Geographic has a section that deals with artifacts that were retrieved from sites where it was not possible to excavate them. The TMSP had a very respectful appearance in this section as the first site mentioned and the only one which is discussed in the text. They also added a very nice drawing of the Immer bulla.
The Immer Bulla in National Geographic