Considered sacred ground even before Biblical times and bitterly contested in our own day, the Temple Mount is one of the most fascinating and important places on earth. We’ve selected several articles that highlight the Temple Mount’s role in the three great Western religions and focus on a key archaeological issue: Just where was the ancient Jewish Temple located?

The articles below were hand-selected by the Biblical Archaeology Review editors especially for members of the BAS Library.



New Evidence of the Royal Stoa and Roman Flames
Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2010 By Aryeh Shimron , Orit Peleg-Barkat

Orit Peleg-Barkat of the Hebrew University has been studying the hundreds of elegant fragments that fell from the Royal Stoa on the herodian Temple Mount in Jerusalem when it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E. In the course of her research, she came across some unusual-looking stones, so she consulted leading Israeli […]

A New Reconstruction of Paul’s Prison
Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 2009

The Antonia, the palace/fortress lavishly described by the ancient Jewish historian Josephus at the northwest corner of the Herodian Temple Mount, is not mentioned by name in the New Testament. For a long time, however, it was thought to be the “praetorium” where Pilate questioned Jesus and found him innocent. The praetorium is […]

Hadrian’s Legion
Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 2006 By Eilat Mazar

After the Romans destroyed the Temple and burned Jerusalem in 70 C.E., the Xth Legion (Fretensis) of the Roman army camped on the southwestern hill of the city, in the area known today as the Citadel, by Jaffa Gate.1 This was not, however, enough to stifle the resurgence of Jewish nationalism. In 132 C.E. […]

Islam on the Temple Mount
Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 2006 By Moshe Sharon

In 38 C.E. Christian Jerusalem fell to a minor Arab officer by the name of Khalid ibn Thabit from the clan of Fahm. The patriarch of Jerusalem, Sophronius, had by then lost all hope of relief from Constantinople, since all the major cities of Syria (including Damascus) had opened their gates to the invading […]

More Temple Mount Antiquities Destroyed
Biblical Archaeology Review, September/October 2000 By Suzanne F. Singer

Large-scale illegal construction on the Temple Mount and wholesale dumping of earth in the nearby Kidron Valley resumed this spring. The construction, which is being undertaken by the Waqf, the Muslim religious trust responsible for the Mount, is the continuation of work begun last winter to open what was supposed to be simply an […]

Sacred Geometry: Unlocking the Secret of the Temple Mount, Part 1
Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 1999 By David Jacobson

Longtime BAR readers know that two theories vie with each other regarding where the Temple once stood on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. The first was advanced by Asher Kaufman, a Hebrew University physicist with a longstanding interest in the Temple Mount, the second by Leen Ritmeyer, an architectural draughtsman who worked on the Temple […]

Sacred Geometry: Unlocking the Secret of the Temple Mount, Part 2
Biblical Archaeology Review, September/October 1999 By David Jacobson

We have already established the location of the Herodian Temple in Jerusalem and the altar that once stood in front of it (see the previous installment of this article in “Sacred Geometry: Unlocking the Secret of the Temple Mount, Part 1,” BAR 25:04). Echoes of these ancient structures are preserved today in two Islamic […]

Jerusalem Down Under: Tunneling Along Herod’s Temple Mount Wall
Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 1995 By Dan Bahat

Between 1968 and 1982 and from 1985 to the present, Israel’s Ministry of Religious Affairs has exposed over 900 feet of the western wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem by digging a tunnel underneath the structures above. During much of that time I was the Israel Antiquities Authority’s District Archaeologist for Jerusalem. […]

Locating the Original Temple Mount
Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 1992 By Leen Ritmeyer

Somewhere on Jerusalem’s majestic Temple Mount—the largest man-made platform in the ancient world, the size of 24 football fields, nearly 145 acres—Herod the Great (37–4 B.C.) built a new Temple to the Israelite God Yahweh,a doubtless on the very spot where the exiles returning from Babylonia more than 500 years earlier had rebuilt […]

Reconstructing Herod’s Temple Mount in Jerusalem
Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 1989 By Kathleen Ritmeyer , Leen Ritmeyer

Herod the Great—master builder! Despite his crimes and excesses, no one can doubt his prowess as a builder.

A Pilgrim’s Journey
Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 1989 By Kathleen Ritmeyer

Jerusalem is bathed in the clear light of early morning. A pilgrim has come for one of the great festivals, and his journey is almost over. He begins the ascent from the Siloam Pool at the bottom part of the Lower City. The sun is not yet casting its harsh glare on the stepped […]

Quarrying and Transporting Stones for Herod’s Temple Mount
Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 1989 By Leen Ritmeyer

Herod’s construction in the Temple Mount area, like the construction of most of Jerusalem’s buildings, used local limestone.

Reconstructing the Triple Gate
Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 1989 By Kathleen Ritmeyer , Leen Ritmeyer

Reconstructing the Triple Gate required that we answer three principal questions. What was the gate’s original width? Was it originally a double gate or a triple gate? For whom was it built? The discovery of a vault in front of the Triple Gate—about 23 feet south of the facade—gave us critical information for understanding […]


Where’s the Square?
Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 1992
How the Temple Mount Developed
Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 1992