Temple Mount Sifting Project
Israel • Continuous
I Volunteered for This?!
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.
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 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 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.
Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem
Periods of Occupation
Iron Age II through the Ottoman period
Dates of the Dig
a month prior volunteering
Academic Credit/Cost per Credit/Institution
Open for tours
Yes, by appointment
BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY SOCIETY NETWORK LINKS