An astonishing archaeological discovery has been made at the feet of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The find is an ancient chisel, which apparently was used by the builders of the Western Wall of the Second Temple.
Archaeologist Eli Shukrun, who managed the excavations and found the rare tool, told Arutz Sheva that the chisel is "a moving discovery." He noted that the ancient chisel, which is made of metal, is 15 centimeters (six inches) long.
"For the first time, after 2,000 years, we have a tool of the builders of the Kotel (Western Wall)," remarked Shukrun, who has dug in the City of David and the Temple Mount area for the Israeli Antiquities Authority for 19 years.
The find was reportedly made under the Davidson Center Archaeological Park right by Robinson's Arch, just to the south of the Western Wall Plaza, reports Haaretz.
Shukrun has been digging in recent years in tunnels that lead from the City of David, go under the Old City walls and end at the Western Wall, which were essentially drainage tunnels for the Temple Mount.
The chisel was likely dropped by a builder working higher on the Western Wall according to Shukrun, who found the tool in a quarry refuse heap under the Western Wall.
Waiting for results, but Shukrun is certain
While the find was made nine months ago, the Antiquities Authority has reportedly not publicized the find yet until final results are received.
"The Antiquities Authority is waiting for the research results on the material as is done with the rest of the finds made in excavations. When solid and firmly based results are received, the Authority will address the matter," added the statement.
However, Shukrun was certain of his find.
"I have no doubt that this is connected to the time of the Kotel's construction. We found it at the base of the Kotel, roughly six meters (20 feet) below the main street of Jerusalem at the time of the Second Temple," remarked Shukrun.
"The coins we found in that area and the ceramics point to the period of the building of the Kotel. The chisel itself was found in a refuse quarry which was made for chiseling the Kotel stones," added the archaeologist.
Find made as PA denounces 'alleged' Temple
The new find, if verified by the research as being part of construction on the Second Temple, would be a further blow to the Palestinian Authority's (PA) claims that the First and Second Temples are a Jewish fabrication.
The highest PA religious authority, Mufti Muhammad Hussein, asserted in late March that Israel was making an "attempt... at lay[ing] hands on the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque... [and] in addition to the threat of destroying the Al-Aqsa Mosque to establish the alleged Temple on its ruins."
The same mufti in 2012 publicly called for the genocide of the Jewish people.
Similarly Khaled Mismar, Chairman of the Political Committee of the Palestinian National Council, the legislative body of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) reiterated the spurious claims on March 30 on official PA TV.
"Now they want to divide up the Al-Aqsa Mosque (i.e., the Temple Mount Plaza). Furthermore, they want to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and erect what they call 'the Temple' over Al-Aqsa," remarked Mismar.