Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Temple Mount Archeological Project Stalls After Right Wing Group Cuts Funding

A project to find artifacts in soil taken from the Temple Mount has been placed on hold due to a lack of funding, the directors said on Sunday.

Since the early 2000s, the Temple Mount Sifting Project has engaged over a quarter million volunteers from around the world to dig through soil to find fragments of ancient pottery, coins and even pieces of bone.

According to the Times of Israel, the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf excavated part of the Temple Mount without archaeological supervision in order to build an underground mosque, leaving tens of thousands of tons of dirt outside the Old City.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project gained access to the dirt in 2004, and has sifted around 70 percent of it for ancient objects. The project has resulted in some fascinating finds, like an ancient Egyptian amulet, a coin from the Jewish revolt against Rome in 66 CE and gold tiles from the Dome of the Rock.

The organization had to put its operations on hold when its funder, the Ir David Foundation, withdrew its financial support. Ir David, a controversial group with projects in East Jerusalem, where Palestinians hope to build a capital, did not explain its decision to cut funding.

Contact Naomi Zeveloff at [email protected]

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.