Biblical Archaeology Review 24:2, March/April 1998


Shh, Don’t Tell the Ultra-Orthodox

A Jewish cemetery dating to the 11th century A.D. may lie beneath the prayer plaza of the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). The Western Wall, as a remnant of Herod’s Temple Mount, is the holiest site in Judaism today. The ultra-Orthodox community, some of whom vigorously protest against excavating the bones of Jews, has not yet responded to this development.

Graves were first discovered in the area in 1968 by the late Benjamin Mazar. His excavation of the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount revealed 30 graves between the Western Wall and the remnants of an Umayyad palace.

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