Temple Mount Sifting Project

Sifting the Dirt of the Holiest Site on Earth

Since construction of an underground mosque on the Temple Mount (also known as the Haram esh-Sharif) began in 1999, hundreds of tons of dirt and debris have been dumped in the Kidron Valley and other locations. Since November 2004, veteran archaeologist Gabriel Barkay and his student Zachi Dvira have been sifting through this debris to recover whatever archaeological information can be obtained from the debris.

Biblical Archaeology: From the Ground Down

How does a dig team work? What do archaeologists look for at a dig? In this documentary DVD, learn how excavators work and what we can learn from archaeology. More information.

So far that information has been considerable: Barkay and Dvira have recovered thousands of ancient coins, jewelry, arrowheads, fragmented architectural remnants from Second Temple period monumental structures, Iron Age seals, bullae, figurines, Egyptian scarabs, weights and thousands of other finds.
The project is always looking for volunteers to come and help them sort through the thousands of years of history hidden in the soil. They ask that volunteers devote at least seven days. Accommodation is independent and must be arranged by the volunteers.

Gabriel Barkay

Gabriel BarkayGabriel Barkay is a professor at Bar-Ilan University and Hebrew University. His academic interests include burial customs, art, and epigraphy. The 1996 winner of the Jerusalem Prize for Archaeological Research, he has participated in numerous digs over the past 35 years, including the tomb in Jerusalem where he found two silver amulets dating to 600 B.C. and inscribed with the name of the Israelite God YHWH, the oldest Biblical inscription ever found.

Zachi Dvira

Zachi DviraZachi Dvira is an archaeology student at Bar Ilan University. He was the first to recognize the archaeological importance of the debris from construction on the Temple Mount.

Dig Directors

Gabriel Barkay
Zachi Dvira

Geographic Location

Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem

Periods of Occupation

Iron Age II through the Ottoman period

Dates of the Dig


Minimum Stay

7 days

Application Due

a month prior volunteering



Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution





Harel Avrahami
Emem Tzurim National Park
Phone: 972-2-6280342

Open for tours

Yes, by appointment
Sun - Thur 9:00 - 15:00 - Fri: 9:00 - 11:00
Should make reservation ahead by calling *6033 or +972-2-6268700