Thursday, October 25, 2007

"But I Used the Tractor Carefully..."

The Jerusalem Post story on the on-going saga of "excavations" on the Temple Mount is here.  The abbreviated version follows:

Genius #1: Shmuel Dorfman

"There was no damage to the remains of buildings or artifacts."

Sir, can you tell me if you excavated with a tractor?

"They were under time pressure."

It's good to know that you can excavate with a tractor and cause "no damage" to ancient remains.  This guy wouldn't pass Archaeology 101.  Unfortunately he is the Director-General of the Israel Antiquities Authority.


Genius #2: Meir Ben-Dov, retired archaeologist

"There were no archeological findings in the ground," Meir Ben-Dov told the committee. "They dug a total of 50 cm. [18 inches] deep and all of it was fill-in from the earlier infrastructure that had been installed."

Somebody should have told this guy about the Iron Age remains from an undisturbed layer that were discovered in this trench.  Ben-Dov is not an honest man.  He just expected that the Muslims would have destroyed it all so thoroughly that no one would ever be able to prove him wrong.  Fortunately somebody was watching "the excavation" between tractor scoops and not all was lost.


The good news:

"The Knesset State Control Committee on Monday decided to ask the State Comptroller's Office to investigate procedures for allowing the Wakf Islamic trust to excavate on the Temple Mount, amid claims by archeologists that the laying of electric cables there in August endangered ancient artifacts."

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