Yesterday afternoon I took my archaeology students to help with the on-going sifting operation from the Temple Mount debris. They have made some remarkably discoveries in the two years that they have been methodically sifting the material.

The archaeologist in charge is Gabriel Barkay, who has been involved in Jerusalem archaeology for the last 40 years. He suggested yesterday that the current project may take him the rest of his life. They have searched less than half of the debris so far.

Last week a major find from the same material was announced in the journal of the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research. An inscription from a monumental arch with the name of the Roman general Silva was discovered by the Muslims during the earth’s removal, but it only became known to a few archaeologists several years ago. The inscription is about 3 feet long by 2 feet high and, according to Barkay, was part of a hence unknown Roman triumphal arch in the vicinity of the Temple Mount. Haaretz has more details.

For more about the project, see the Temple Mount Archaeological Destruction website. The author, Zachi Zweig, tells me that a new website is coming with up-to-date information.