Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Ancient Cedar Beams on Temple Mount

Archaeologists have long known about some ancient cedar beams on the Temple Mount. Recent tests indicated that they dated back to the time of Solomon’s temple. (I don’t have an English reference for that at the moment.) The Temple Mount Sifting Project team recently wrote about these cedar beams:

Some of these beams predate the first Al-Aqsa Mosque and have been used and reused numerous times in various structures, which actually aided their preservation. We have some fragments of these beams among the finds at the Sifting Project.

We have been monitoring these beams for many years as they lay exposed to the weather in the open courts of the Temple Mount. We hope the Israel Antiquities Authority will succeed in placing them in a safe shelter before the coming winter. We have been requesting that the IAA deal with this issue more than three years, but these ancient beams have yet to be properly secured.

Arutz-7 reported on Sunday that some of the beams are being used as firewood.

The wood, consisting of giant beams, first appeared at the end of the 1930s, when the Al-Aqsa mosque which currently occupies the Temple Mount was refurbished. The beams had been used in the roof structure of the mosque, and already at that time they were said to be thousands of years old by archaeologists – preserved only because they had been used in the building. Some of the beams were dated to the first Temple period, others to Roman times, and at least one beam was found to have Byzantine-era designs etched on it.

[...]

Now, many of the beams have been placed at what appears to be a dumping ground next to the Golden Gate of the Old City, apparently for the use of local Arabs as firewood. Jewish groups that visited the Mount saw the beams being moved, but reported that the Arabs forbade them to take photos of the activity. Officials of the Archaeology Authority, who are responsible for the safety of these ancient beams, are nowhere to be seen.

The Arutz-7 story includes a short video allegedly showing the beams being burned next to the Golden Gate.

Cedar of Lebanon, adr090510661

Cedar trees in Lebanon
Photo from the new Lebanon volume

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