Many of our readers may have visited Jerusalem and some of you may have also participated in the Temple Mount Sifting Project where rubble removed by the Waqf from the Temple Mount in the 1990 is checked for items of archaeological (and religious) interest.
This project is especially important in an era when some claim that the Jewish Temple never existed on the Temple Mount!
This week, another discovery was revealed – stone floor tiles which archaeologists say came from the Second Temple which was built by Herod.
The designs have been identified by Frankie Snyder, an expert in Herodian flooring, who said “this type of flooring, called ‘opus sectile,’ Latin for ‘cut work,’ is very expensive and was considered to be far more prestigious than mosaic tiled floors.” Snyder explained that there was no ‘opus sectile’ flooring in Israel before the time of Herod.
Dr Gabriel Barkay, co-founder and director of the Temple Mount Sifting Project was quoted to have said:
“Now, as a result of Frankie Snyder’s mathematical skills, we have succeeded in recreating the actual tile patterns. This represents the first time that we can see with our own eyes the splendor of the flooring that decorated the Second Temple and its annexes 2,000 years ago. Referring to the Temple that Herod built, the Talmud says that ‘Whoever has not seen Herod’s building has not seen a beautiful building in his life’. Though we have not [yet] merited seeing the Temple in its glory, with the discovery and restoration of these unique floor tiles, we are now able to have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Second Temple, even through this one distinctive characteristic.”