Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chisel Discovered from Temple Mount Construction

Archaeologists excavating in the area below Robinson’s Arch along the southern end of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount have discovered a metal chisel used to shape the stones in the first century. The Israel Antiquities Authority has not issued a press release yet, but Haaretz has learned of the discovery.

Archaeologists have found a stonemason's chisel that they believe may have been used by the builders of the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Actually Eli Shukron, an archaeologist working for the Israel Antiquities Authority, found the chisel last summer while digging at the lower base of the Western Wall, south of the Western Wall courtyard. However, the IAA has preferred to remain silent on the discovery, based on the need to study the tool and other evidence further before issuing any statements, it explained.

Shukron has been digging in the area of the City of David and the Western Wall together with Prof. Ronny Reich for the past 19 years, until a few months ago. In recent years Shukron had been excavating inside a tunnel found to lead from the City of David into the Old City, passing beneath its massive stone wall and ending at the Western Wall.

[…]

The chisel is just one of many archaeological treasures that Shukron and Reich reported from the area. Other finds include a Roman sword, cooking vessels from the period of the Great Rebellion, a gold bell that they think may have adorned the robe of the High Priest, and a ceramic seal apparently used to confirm the suitability of sacrifices brought to the Temple.

[…]

"People pray and kiss these holy stones every day, but somebody carved them, somebody chiseled them, somebody positioned them," Shukron says. "They were workers, human beings, who had tools. Today for the first time we can touch a chisel that belonged to one of them."

The full article in Haaretz (registration/subscription required) explains the basis for dating the construction of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount to one of the rulers after King Herod.

HT: Joseph Lauer

Chisel used in construction of Western Wall
Photo by Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority

Temple Mount stones of western wall below street level, tb050312314

Western Wall excavations below the ancient street level near discovery location

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6 Comments:

  • How do we know, construction? As opposed to being a tool used in the year+ long de-construction after the Roman sacking in 70CE? Thoughts?

    By Blogger Daniel M. Wright, at Wed Apr 23, 01:11:00 PM  

  • The archaeologist should be able to determine this based upon the location of the find. Those details are not given in this report, but certainly his conclusion takes all of the data into account.

    By Blogger Todd Bolen, at Wed Apr 23, 03:56:00 PM  

  • In the photo labeled "Western Wall excavations below the ancient street level near discovery location" the building blocks on the right do not look Herodian. The boss is not smooth. Are they Hasmonean?

    By Blogger Jim Lancaster, at Thu Apr 24, 09:10:00 PM  

  • They are Herodian, but not finished like the ones visible above ground.

    By Blogger Todd Bolen, at Thu Apr 24, 11:58:00 PM  

  • Is that a new tunnel in the area below Robinson's arch or is that a part of the tunnel north of the Western Wall prayer area?

    By Blogger Jim Lancaster, at Fri Apr 25, 11:32:00 AM  

  • This "tunnel" is area excavated below the street underneath Robinson's arch on the southern end of the western wall of the Temple Mount.

    By Blogger Todd Bolen, at Fri Apr 25, 12:31:00 PM  

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