My dig! Be sure to click on the photo to see it in all its full-size grandeur!
A year ago I had the privilege of working here, at the salvage excavations at the Western Wall Plaza. Last night I was watching the news [via Internet since I have no television]. Suddenly my dear former (and future) boss, archaeologist Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, appeared on the screen, announcing important and exciting new discoveries! Yay!
A rich sealed layer of finds was revealed from the latter part of the First Temple period, i.e. the end of the 8th century BCE up to the destruction of the Temple in 586 BCE. Artifacts such as a seal bearing the name Netanyahu ben Yaush; animal and fertility figurines; and
a vast amount of pottery vessels, including three jar handles that bear LMLK stamped impressions. An inscription written in ancient Hebrew script is preserved on one these impressions and it reads: למלך חברון ([belonging] to the king of Hebron).
Furthermore, and maybe more importantly, quoting the Israel Antiquities Authority,
"This is actually the first time in the history of the archaeological research of Jerusalem that building remains from the First Temple period were exposed so close to the Temple Mount - on the eastern slopes of the Upper City. The walls of the buildings are preserved to a height of more than 2 meters."
Click here http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/History/Early+History+-+Archaeology/Building+remains+from+First+Temple+period+exposed+west+of+Temple+Mount+13-Mar-2008.htm?DisplayMode=print to read the exciting IAA press release.
I love doing archaeological fieldwork, working hard with a good team, and I dearly love Jerusalem and the Kotel! So maybe it's time to get back to my job already.
Here in my picture you can also see the Western Wall, the other salvage dig behind the old ramp up to the Mughrabi Gate, and Al-Aqsa mosque up on the Temple Mount.
UPDATE: A video from the site at http://www.infolive.tv/en/infolive.tv-19840-israelnews-remains-first-temple-found-underneath-planned-walkway-leading-temple but with a caveat: this is not where the walkway is planned. That is a different dig, nearby. And no one ever said the walls found were of the Temple itself. I wish the news media would get things right.