If you’ve only been to Israel in the last five years, then you never had a chance to visit inside the Muslim buildings on the Temple Mount. In fact, chances are good you weren’t even allowed on the Temple Mount at all. If you visited before the outbreak of violence in 2000, you likely visited these but probably were not able to enter “Solomon’s Stables” below Al Aqsa Mosque. Now there’s a recent video showing all of that.
When I first saw the link, I ignored it because it didn’t seem that it would have anything of interest to me. Certainly no one has been able to take a videocamera through all of the off-limits areas in recent times. I was wrong. And the 4-minute video is worth watching if you have any interest in seeing the interior of the Dome of the Rock, the Al Aqsa Mosque and Solomon’s Stables. The clip could benefit with an audio commentary explaining what you’re seeing (including some remains of Herodian architecture!), but most of it is easy to understand.
Watch it at ynetnews.com.
I’ve known about this series for sometime because I originally had scheduled Gabriel Barkay for a trip for my class, but that had to be changed because of his LA engagement. In any case, full details of Excavating in Jerusalem and the Mountains Around Her: What the New Excavations Teach Us About the City, the Bible, the People and the Temple are now available from the University of Judaism. There are 7 lectures, with an entrance cost of $25 each. A few years ago I attended some of these lectures and I believe there was a student price at that time. The top three that I would attend if I could:
Gabriel Barkay: What Does Recent Excavation Reveal About the Temple Mount Past and Present?
Beth Alpert Nakhai: An Archaeological View of Biblical Women and Their Families
Thomas Levy: King Solomon’s Mines Revisited: Archaeological Explorations in Edom and What They Mean for Understanding Biblical History
$25 is not cheap, esp. for students, but these are the scholars who have made (or are making) the discoveries. And LA is a shorter drive than Israel.
Here’s a lesser known aspect of the Pool of Siloam excavations. Most people know that the pool is fed by Hezekiah’s Tunnel, but they may not be aware of a second channel (known as Channel #2, or the Siloam Channel/Tunnel) which connects the Gihon Spring and the Pool of Siloam but on the east side of the City of David. This channel runs on the western slope above the Kidron Valley and it was once believed that it watered the King’s Gardens in the valley via a series of square openings.
One of those openings is on the southern end of the City of David. Here’s a photo taken in September 2002.
You can see that the opening looks square and the channel looks full of trash. Also note the street pavement and the crack in the bedrock in the upper left.
Eli Shukron’s recent excavations of the Pool of Siloam has included work on this channel, and our students have had some involvement in that (no glory here: more like cleaning out a sewer). But you can see the difference once the pavement has been removed and the channel cleared. Stephen’s head (on the left) is at about pavement level.