[ALT] Jerusalem Aerial 1
The Temple Mount, Jerusalem
(photo courtesy of Zeev Radovan)

[ALT] Jerusalem
Looking northeast toward Mount Scopus, the excavations lay at the foot of the Temple Mount enclosure walls.
(photo courtesy of Yoav Alkalay)

[ALT] Arm In Arm
Prof. Benjamin Mazar and Herbert W. Armstrong walk arm-in-arm through the Temple Mount excavations.

[ALT] Temple Mount Excavations Book
The Complete Guide to the Temple Mount Excavations, Eilat Mazar (2002)


History Unveiled at Last

The remains of well-preserved monumental ancient structures, from the First Temple period buildings of the Royal Quarter of Jerusalem (1000-586 BCE) to the Muslim Caliph’s Palace Complex (661-750 CE), were exposed in most of the area. These buildings and their environs yielded thousands of finds that reflected both times of great wealth and prosperity and of catastrophe and poverty in the history of Jerusalem. The excavation reached considerable depths, including the excavation of subterranean cisterns, channels, caves and other installations hewn into the bedrock.

The 10 years of excavation greatly illuminated many chapters of Jerusalem’s rich and unique history. Monumental building complexes dating from the First and Second Temple, Roman, Byzantine and Umayyad periods were exposed. In addition, significant building complexes of the Hellenistic, Hasmonean, Roman, Crusader and Mamluk periods were uncovered.

The Temple Mount excavations have provided a rare opportunity for tangible contact with the magnificent remains of the wonderfully rich past of Jerusalem. We hope that this website will do justice to the excavations and to their great scientific contribution to the study of ancient Jerusalem.

About the Excavations

The excavators of the Temple Mount excavations took on themselves an enormously demanding task. However, despite all the financial, technical and local and international political difficulties, beyond the usual difficulties of digging, they succeeded in uncovering the remarkable and impressive remains that can be seen today in the excavation area and provide us with a wealth of data to be studied in the years to come.

During the excavations the best professional and artistic talents were set to work in drawing the area plans, detailed plans and reconstructions, permitting an overall view of the remains. Special attention was paid to the study of certain categories of finds, such as the thousands of coins, the pottery lamps, the various kinds of inscriptions and stamps etc. A great effort was made by the expedition to study, as comprehensively as possible, the hundreds of decorative architectural fragments.

Although it is not possible to mention here the names of each and every individual who participated in the excavations over the years, we wish to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to all members of the expedition, some for the entire period and others for part of it. These include archaeologists, architects, photographers, artists and other professionals, as well as hundreds of volunteers from Israel and abroad and dozens of paid laborers. It was due to their skill and efforts that the fascinating history of this central quarter of the city came to light.

We also owe gratitude to the bodies and institutions in Israel and overseas and to the private individuals who were partners and supported the excavation project both materially and in spirit. To each of them we express our appreciation.

Ambassador College, headed by Herbert W. Armstrong, was the greatest supporter of the Temple Mount Excavations. Major funds were submitted to enable the excavations and, over the years, hundreds of students were sent to participate as volunteers. A great personal friendship and love rose between Professor Mazar and Mr. Armstrong which created an “iron-bridge” relationship.

Publications During Excavations

The following publications were written during the excavations:

Mazar B. Excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem, Preliminary Report of the First Season, 1968, Jerusalem 1969.

Mazar B. Excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem Near the Temple Mount, Preliminary Report of the Second and Third Seasons, 1969-1970 Seasons. Jerusalem 1971.

Mazar B. The Mountain of the Lord. New York 1975

Numerous other general descriptions, summaries, discussions and conclusions were published during the excavations.

Publication Project

Due to great difficulties, no final reports were published for many years after the excavations concluded, until 1987 when Professor Mazar rejuvenated the efforts to organize the publication of the finds from the excavations. This resulted in the publication of Qedem 29, which is the final report of the finds from the first Temple Period. This volume was co-authored by Professor Benjamin Mazar and Dr. Eilat Mazar. It also included the finds from the later excavations that were conducted under Dr. Eilat Mazar in 1986-1987 in the southeastern part of the Temple Mount excavations.

After Professor Mazar’s death in 1995, the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem nominated Dr. Eilat Mazar to direct the continuation of the publication of the finds from Professor Benjamin Mazar’s excavations.

In 1997-1998, three containers packed with thousands of excavation finds were transferred from the Israel Antiquities Authority to the Institute of Archaeology. Several archaeology students were employed for the preliminary sorting of the finds, the notes on the 30 excavation areas and their loci, and the list of topics prepared by the excavators.

Dr. Mazar organized the wealth of material from the excavations to be systematically worked on according to a well-defined plan and timetable. Every effort is made to allow as many scholars and experts as possible to participate in the publication project. A scientific advisory board for the publication project was established. The members are Professor D. Bahat, Professor G. Foerster, Professor L. I. Levine, Professor A. Mazar, Professor Z. Safrai and Professor Y. Schwartz.

At first, with the help of Professor H. Tadmor, the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities recognized and supported the project’s initial phase.

Later phases were supported by the Reuben and Edith Hecht Foundation, the Yad Hanadiv Foundation, the Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies, the Jerusalem Project of the C.G. Foundation at Bar Ilan University, the Beracha Foundation, the Shelby White-Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publications to publish the material from the Late Roman Period. In recent years, the publication project has been supported by Roger and Suzan Hertog.

Most recently, the previous friendship between Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong and Professor Benjamin Mazar was revived through Mr. Gerald Flurry, chancellor of Herbert W. Armstrong College and Dr. Eilat Mazar. Armstrong College also assists with the publication project and is the major donor for this website. Students are sent to participate as volunteers in Dr. Mazar’s excavations in Jerusalem and also contribute to the processing of the finds.

We would like to express our deep gratitude and appreciation to all the contributors and donors who made the Temple Mount excavations and publications possible.

This website now allows everybody a closer look at the original fascinating remains of ancient Jerusalem as revealed at the foot of the Temple Mount enclosure.