Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jerusalem, Rome, and Alexandria

Zachi Zweig recently produced photographs of a Byzantine mosaic floor discovered under Al Aqsa Mosque between 1938 and 1942. Zweig is certain that this was part of a Byzantine church on the Temple Mount. To this point, it has generally been held that the Byzantines left the Temple Mount in ruins. The 6th century Medeba Map does not show any buildings in this area. Underneath the mosaic floor was a Jewish ritual bath (mikveh). The story is in the Jerusalem Post, and Leen Ritmeyer comments at his blog.

Google Earth has added a layer for Ancient Rome as it stood in A.D. 320. Judging from a 2-minute video preview, this is an extraordinary resource. As with the rest of Google Earth, it is free. It probably would not be difficult to remove a few buildings and create a layer for Rome in the 1st century. Perhaps someone will be so motivated.

Leen Ritmeyer has created a less detailed Jerusalem layer that shows the city in the 1st century. (UPDATE 11/20: This layer is no longer available.)

This story has been around before, but perhaps its re-circulation indicates that progress is being made. The JPost reports that plans are underway for the world’s first underwater archaeology museum in Alexandria.

"The whole Bay of Alexandria actually still houses the remains of very important archeological sites. You have the place of the Pharaohs - the ancient lighthouse of Alexandria - which is one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. You have the Polonike Palace, which was the palace of Cleopatra, and there might also be the grave of Alexander the Great," she said.

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2 Comments:

  • Note: Leen has just removed his link to Jerusalem since so many of us couldn't find it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Nov 20, 02:11:00 PM  

  • I'm not surprised by this at all. I suggest here that there's plenty of evidence supporting a Church of Mary Theotokos as the origin of the floorplan (and perhaps some elements still in use) of the Dome of the Rock. Further associated churches on the esplanade are also likely, or perhaps a monastery complex related to the church, which undoubtedly would've been a major pilgrimage site in the late Byzantine period in the Holy Land.

    By Anonymous Kevin P. Edgecomb, at Thu Nov 20, 07:05:00 PM  

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