Biblical Archaeology Review 28:1, January/February 2002

First Person: Temple Mount Wall in Danger

Bulge appears near area of Muslim construction

By Hershel Shanks

An archaeological and political tragedy is in the making. Part of the southern wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem may collapse. The Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest shrine in Islam, may be damaged and underground mosques nearby may also suffer. And if that happens, the Arab (and Muslim) world is sure to blame Israel.

A bulge in the southern wall of the Temple Mount now protrudes more than 2 feet. According to independent engineers engaged by the Israel Antiquities Authority, “Its collapse may cause irreversible damage to the structure.” Their time estimate: “The problem is a source of danger in the medium term (in a range of a number of years).”

At its largest, the bulge is 107 feet long and 32 feet high; it covers more than 2,000 square feet. It begins about 30 feet from the top of the southern wall and 45 feet from the eastern end of the wall. The worst protrusion is about 100 feet from the eastern end of the wall.

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