Volunteers join search for Temple relics

A nature reserve below Mount Scopus in Jerusalem was the scene of an ongoing archaeological rescue project Wednesday, October 19, 2005.

Dozens of volunteers searched through refuse dumped at the site by the muslim wakf (religious authority) in Jerusalem’s Old City during the wakf’s construction of underground mosques on the Temple Mount. Archaeologists have found among the refuse many artifacts of historical import, including seals discovered just three weeks ago that date from the era of the First Temple (that built by the Biblical King Solomon).

The volunteers are working at the Ein Tzurim reserve under the direction of archaeologist Tzachi Zweig. The general public has been invited to take part in the work, although a poor response was expected due to rainy weather. Sukkas (booths), in honor of the Sukkot holiday, have been erected at the site to display the artifacts

recently found during the excavations.

The organizers have faced a number of difficulties from the police regarding the construction of the booths at the site and a permit for the dig. They have lodged a petition with the High Court of Justice requesting an injunction against the police, which would allow the sukkas at Ein Tzurim, as was originally agreed with the Nature and Parks Authority.

“The police have caused problems for us,” stated one of the organizers. “They said that the event wasn’t authorized. This is the police – which is particularly unhelpful to the Jews.”

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