Originally published in Israel today
After 12 years of painstaking work, Israeli archeologists were able to reconstruct seven complete tiles from the 600 pieces of tile found in the debris resulting from the Palestinians’ reckless and illegal diggings on the Temple Mount. The Muslims are clearing out Jewish history in order to build a third mosque, the largest in Israel.
The tiles in question were found as part of the special Temple Mount Sifting Project supervised by Gabriel Barkai and Yitzhak Dvira.
Prof Barkai has told Israel’s Ynet news portal that the seven reconstructed tiles “are of exceptional beauty, and were probably used for the Temple Mount porticos … The Jewish historian Josephus Flavius has described the floors of the Temple Mount as colorful … and here for the first time we have a glimpse of one aspect of the beauty of the Temple Mount.”
Originally imported from Rome, Asia Minor, Tunisia and Egypt, the tiles were cut to different geometrical shapes and most likely were laid by foreign craftsmen sent by Emperor Augustus to his friend Herod the Great.
Franky Schneider, a specialist in decorative ancient floors who works with the sifting project and who reconstructed the tiles, said that the floor style, called Opus sectile, was the most exclusive type of tiling of the era.
Schneider and Dvira will present their findings in the annual conference of Megalim (City of David Studies of Ancient Jerusalem) on Thursday. Scheduled to speak at this conference is Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Dore Gold, who will address UNESCO’s treatment of the subject and its consequences on archaeological research in the State of Israel.