Leen Ritmeyer, archaeologist and architect expert of the Temple Mount, published a post in his blog referring to the new discovered course of ashlar stones at the bottom of the raised platform northern wall that we published here in a report two weeks ago. Ritmeyer discusses this wall in his post and eliminates the Byzantine and Umayyad dating, which leaves the Pre-Herodian dating to be highly probable.
We examined this find again, especially its chisel marks. We concluded that this course of stones could not be dated prior to the Umayyad period. Similar stones could be found in other sections of the raised platform wall and in other Umayyad sections of the Temple Mount walls. In addition, the Umayyad builders commonly made secondary use of stones from previous structures, so judging just by the type of stones and chisel marks we cannot disqualify dating these stones to the Early Islamic period.
Last Tuesday, there was a discussion in the Knesset Interior Committee regarding antiquities destruction on the Temple Mount. The constructions and paving at new generator room was also discussed. The Antiquities Authority claimed that all of the construction works at the site were authorized by the special ministry council, and the works were supervised and completed a year and a half ago. In a discussion two weeks earlier in the same Knesset Committee, the Antiquities Authority claimed that since 2009 all the earth works are done manually and no heavy machinery is used.
Now, the facts that we know about this dig contradict these claims. In a video published on the internet two months ago, a bobcat tractor is seen working around the new generator and removing earth. No antiquities inspector or policeman is seen supervising this work. In addition, the work took place in October 2013 and is still not finished. The fact that the paving worked has stopped and has not been completed yet may imply that the IAA inspectors noticed this work in a late phase and then stopped it, due to the new archaeological information that was revealed during this dig. Could it be that the IAA was not aware of this earthwork, in spite all their claims that everything today is being supervised and controlled?