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With recent headlines about the James bone box and an inscribed tablet from Solomon's temple, archaeology in the Holy Land is receiving much attention. What can Jerusalem teach about history and the Bible?

Dan Bahat is one of Israel's leading archaeologists and a senior lecturer at the Land of Israel Studies at Bar-Ilan University. He is an expert on the Temple Mount, Herod's Palace, and the 1,600- foot tunnel that runs under the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount.

Has the recently found tablet been verified to be a genuine artifact?

Not only that, but it has been read to beautifully describe the victory of the Arameans over Israel, which is something we know of from the biblical description.

The fact that some archaeologists have tried to overlook it doesn't [mean it is not authentic] because archaeology is not a definite answer to everything. Archaeology is not exact science like physics and mathematics.

Explain your work at the Temple Mount.

We started digging tunnels along that wall in 1967, immediately after the end of the Six Day War. The idea was to expose the Western Wall tunnel in order to understand why the western wall and no other became holy to the Jewish people. This is also known as the Wailing Wall. It is about one-ninth of the entire length of Temple Mount's western retaining wall.

What role does the Temple Mount play in the Bible?

Temple Mount is the name of that official entity which was constructed on the natural mountain Mount Moriah. This mount has got to do with two events in the Old Testament. One of them was Abraham's attempt to sacrifice Isaac for the sake of God's name.

The second reference is that this is the mount on which Jacob put his head when he dreamt the dream of the angels of the Lord ascending ...

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Dan Bahat on Jerusalem Archaeology
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January 2003

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