By Leen Ritmeyer @ http://blog.ritmeyer.com
While digging a trench for electric cabling on the Temple Mount, see plan, a layer of apparently undisturbed material from the First Temple period was discovered. Fragments of bowl rims, bases and body sherds, the base of a juglet used for the ladling of oil, the handle of a small juglet and the rim of a storage jar, fragments of ceramic table wares and animal bones, dating from the Iron Age II ( the eighth to the sixth centuries BC) were found. This was first reported by the Israel Antiquities Authority and later in several places, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Haaretz, the Jerusalem Post, Todd Bolen’s BiblePlaces and other media.
This is exciting news, of course, as it indicates that the Temple Mount was occupied during the 8-6th century B.C. The place where it was found, near the south-east corner of the raised platform, is also highly significant. Archaeologists, such as Yuval Baruch, Sy Gittin and Ronnie Reich said that these finds may aid scholars in reconstructing the dimensions and boundaries of the Temple Mount during the First Temple Period.
For the location of the find, see the blue dot on this plan:
According to my analysis, this area was located inside the pre-Herodian square Temple Mount, see this plan:
The square Temple Mount is in yellow. Orange indicates the Hasmonean extension and Herod’s addition is in green.
In 1992 I published an article in Biblical Archaeology Review, Locating the Original Temple Mount, showing the location and boundaries of the Temple Mount during the Iron Age II period. It is well-known that Herod the Great doubled the size of the then-existing Temple Mount. According to Mishnah Middot, that Temple Mount was a square of 500 cubits. In my book The Quest, pp. 189-194, I have written that there are many reasons to suggest that this square mount was first built by King Hezekiah. Stones of the outer walls of this square mount can be seen at the north-west corner of the raised platform (the Step) and in the eastern Temple Mount wall near the Golden Gate. These architectural remains, of course, delineate the square Temple Mount and the new finds are a good indicator of the possible date of the construction of the square Temple Mount by King Hezekiah.