King Solomon requested from King Hiram of Sidon: 'Hew me cedar-trees out of Lebanon for thou knowest that there is not among us any that hath skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians.' And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying: 'I have heard that which thou hast sent unto me; I will do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar, and concerning timber of cypress. My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon...' (I Kings 5)
In a corner of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem lies a pile of beams that date back thousands of years, as scientific dating of those that reached the Jewish community of Ofra proved. It is not clear how the beams reached the community for storage,, although there is a theory that they were remopved after the 1927 earthquake in Jerusalem destroyed structures on the Mount and eventually brought there. The Rockefeller Museum has others.
We publish here, perhaps for the first time, 85-year-old pictures of the beams recently digitalized and posted online by the Israel Antiquities Authority.
More historical pictures and essays at www.israeldailypicture.com Descriptions based on photo-essays by Lenny Ben-David.
Chamber, column and staircase under
the al Aqsa mosque. "Ancient entrance
to the Temple," according to the Library
of Congress caption (1927)
At least two photographers gained access to the excavation site -- one from the American Colony Photography and Robert Hamilton from the British Mandate Archeological Authority. This publication presented their photos in Eureka! Pictures Beneath the Temple Mount Now Online earlier this year. The feature included pictures of mosaics, chambers, and staircases that could date back to the Temple.
Hamilton "photographed, sketched, excavated and analyzed" what he saw, according to Nadav Shragai, a journalist-scholar on Jerusalem sites, writing in Yisrael HaYom last year. But Hamilton promised the Islamic Authorities, the Waqf, that he would make "no mention of any findings that the Muslims would have found inconvenient" such as findings from the time of the Jewish Temples, whose existence the Muslims vehemently deny.
When the British left Palestine in 1948 the British Archeological Authority became the Israel Archeological Authority. The Rockefeller Museum and its archeological treasures came under Israeli control when the IDF reunited Jerusalem.
Could these pictures from the Israel Archeological Authority show the beams of the Jewish Temples?
"Principal beams" (IAA)
Carved wood panels
Panels and other timbers