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Biblical Archaeology Review 9:2, March/April 1983

Where the Ancient Temple of Jerusalem Stood

Extant “foundation stone” for the Ark of the Covenant is identified

By Asher S. Kaufman

It is almost axiomatic among scholars that no trace of the Jewish Temple is to be found on Jerusalem’s imposing Temple Mount.1

“The Temple is gone. Not a stone, not a trace, remains,” wrote the venerable J. L. Porter in 1887.2

More recently, Dame Kathleen Kenyon echoed the same thoughts. Just before her death in 1978, the eminent British archaeologist wrote a small volume entitled The Bible and Recent Archaeology that appeared posthumously in which she stated, “Absolutely nothing survives of the Temple built by Herod” (the Second Temple).3

Despite this scholarly consensus, there are, however, traces of remains—a line of stones, a worked rock-mass, a cistern—and these ancient relics are sufficient, when added to the literary sources, to locate precisely the Second Temple, and even to trace out the First Temple, on the Temple Mount.

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