Biblical Archaeology Review 30:3, May/June 2004

Temple Mount Excavations Unearth the Monastery of the Virgins

By Eilat Mazar

For ten years, between 1968 and 1978, the area south of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem was intensively excavated by archaeologist Benjamin Mazar.1 His many spectacular discoveries included the remains of a monumental staircase that led up to the southern enclosure wall of the massive platform built by Herod to support the gleaming Temple that he had luxuriously rebuilt. Mazar also found a previously unknown caliph’s palace complex from the early Arab period (late seventh to early eighth century C.E.), a glorious era in Islamic history that also saw the construction of the golden Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque atop Herod’s Temple Mount.

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