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The Sifting Project and the Temple Denial at Megalim Conference

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It’s going to be an interesting week…
On Tuesday we will be holding a press conference about discoveries in our the research.
On Thursday, September 8th, our project is making a splash at this year’s Megalim Conference focusing on Temple Denial. This is followed by a sifting demonstration and the opportunity for conference participants to sift buckets of earth from the Temple Mount. Afterward, Zachi Dvira will lecture about the archaeological evidence from the Temple Mount from the First and Second Temples and Frankie will speak about her research about the Herodian Temple Mount floors.
Can’t join us at the conference in Jerusalem – The conference will be live streamed (with simultaneous English translation) on the City of David Website.
Pages from a new booklet distributed these days by Muslim organizations denying the existence of the Jewish temple at the site.

Pages from a new booklet distributed these days by Muslim organizations denying the existence of the Jewish temple at the site.

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News from the Sifting Site

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20160703_110459What a beautiful summer!

We have been having a great summer at our sifting site in Emek Tzurim. We have been updating the sifting facility, and every day it seems like we are making the site more fun and beautiful.

This week we got a new curtain for our lecture area. It describes the 6 categories of finds that we collect on site: Glass, Mosaics, Pottery, Bones, Special Stones, and Metal. Fun and useful, this is a great addition to our site.

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20160628_091512We have also been updating our supplies. We have new wheelbarrows (such a fun color!) and we have new sifters on their way.

Right now, we are conducting a special summer campaign on site. We have special hours that people can come without an appointment and help us sift. Come at 10am, 1pm, or 4pm for an awesome sifting experience (Hebrew lecture only). Families are encourages to bring their children and we have been having a great time meeting all of the locals and Israelis that have been coming as a part of this campaign.

As a part of the campaign (and we hope we get to keep it) we also have a fantastic coin minter. For 5 shekel, you can take home a Sifting Project coin with the seal of the City of David on one side and a replica of the half-shekel found on our site on the reverse (see below). The pomegranates with the words “Jerusalem the Holy” is my favorite side of the coin, so I am glad that they chose to duplicate that side.

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Found at the Sifting Project: a silver half-shekel coin. Obverse: A chalice from the Temple topped by the letter aleph, which means “First year.” Around it is inscribed “Half a Shekel.” Reverse: A stem with three pomegranates surrounded by the words “Jerusalem the Holy.”

Watch Hillel make these Sifting Project coins here. You can subscribe to our youtube channel and get notified when we start uploading our new video-blog series on Temple Mount history and finds.

Really, I think we have too much fun at the sifting project. Should someone really enjoy their job this much?

For more information about how to participate, click here!

Isn’t it nice to feel validated?

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New Images from the Dome of the Rock

croppedFrankie Snyder is our expert in floors among other things (my shameless plug of the day). She wanted to let you all know that last week, the renovation work that had been in progress for several years on the interior of the Dome of the Rock was completed! As a result, the construction barrier that encircled the central arcade was finally removed. This then enabled the carpet replacement begun in April of 2015 with the outer and inner ambulatories to be carried out on the central arcade.

As the old carpeting on the floor of the central arcade was removed, beautiful opus sectile floor panels were revealed, and workers inside the Dome of the Rock shared many photographs of these floor panels on social media. In a post on the Temple Mount Sifting Project’s website on December 22, 2015, we reported that portions of these floors could be dated to the Crusader period. We are pretty sure that part of the original Crusader floor was removed in a later period and replaced with new designs.

Last week’s photographs give us some amazing views of these rarely published floors that provide us with information previously unavailable to us.

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We now have a more complete understanding of the extent of the floor panels. Frankie knew that the main floor panel extended farther to the north and south than what our original picture showed, but did not know the pattern sequence.  Also she only knew a fraction of what the small panel to the north of the main panel looked like. Her assumption was that it was like the small panel to the south of the main panel, but was not sure. Well, photographic evidence proves that she was right!

So what’s next?

The floors of the Dome of the Rock have been renovated/reconstructed in the past — more than once.  We need to learn the complete history of what was originally there, what was removed and when, what was replaced and when, and what was renovated and when.  We may never get the full story, especially as to what the original floor panels looked like, but we can surely try. Check out our previous post about these Crusader Floors and an article by Israel HaYom talking about this research. Here is more information about the renovations at the Dome of the Rock.

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Mosaics created by Frankie Snyder BEFORE the above images were available. (Notice how the one on the left is identical to those in the pictures above.) Her designs include fragments found in our sifting which must be from a previous version of the floors, or from broken tiles that were discarded.

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