Biblical Archaeology Review 9:2, March/April 1983

A BAR Editorial: Ancient Remains on the Temple Mount Must Not Be Destroyed

Any archaeological discussion of the Temple or its location on the Temple Mount invariably includes a statement to the effect that it would, of course, be unthinkable to conduct any archaeological excavations on the Temple Mount itself. We do not wish to think about the unthinkable, but, on the other hand, there are a number of “on-the-other-hands,” as Asher Kaufman’s article on “Where the Ancient Temple of Jerusalem Stood” reminds us.

In that article we learn that Moslem authorities have conducted an excavation on the Temple Mount for non-archaeological purposes without, however, any archaeological oversight and without any regard for ancient remains that might be encountered in the course of excavation. This non-archaeological excavation was accomplished, we learn, by means of a bulldozer. A bulldozer is anathema to any professional archaeologist except in the narrowest and most limited circumstances, as in removing sand dunes or a previous archaeologist’s dump. Certainly the use of a bulldozer on the Temple Mount contravenes even the most rudimentary archaeological standards.

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