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Don’t leave home without this issue of BAR if you plan to visit the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. In “Reconstructing Herod’s Temple Mount in Jerusalem,” a dazzling display of drawings by architectural artist Leen Ritmeyer brings the excavated remains of this holy site to life. Leen and co-author Kathleen Ritmeyer (his wife) take you on a unique tour of the perimeter of the Temple Mount.
Along the way, the Ritmeyers reveal archaeological evidence—some quite familiar, other elements hardly noticed before—discovered during the excavations directed by Professor Benjamin Mazar. This evidence is our clue to the appearance of the original Temple Mount structures. Previously unnoticed pieces of evidence appear on the southern wall. Faint imprints on the wall’s limestone blocks of a long series of small arches present stark reminders that rooms—probably shops—once nestled against the southern exterior wall of the Temple Mount platform. In the conflagration, ignited by the Romans, that destroyed the Temple and most of the other structures on the platform in 70 A.D., the shops burned at temperatures so high that their charred arches left ghostly marks on the undestroyed walls.
In the southern wall, the Double Gate provided access to the Temple Mount for a constant stream of pilgrims. The Triple Gate, claim the Ritmeyers, was not used by ordinary pilgrims, but by a select group. In “Reconstructing the Triple Gate,” the Ritmeyers describe the design of well-preserved, nearby tombs to help them reconstruct the Triple Gate in the Temple Mount’s southern wall. Architectural and decorative elements in these tombs may have been inspired by similar elements in the Triple Gate.
Two other companion pieces to “Reconstructing Herod’s Temple Mount” bring details of the time vividly to life. “A Pilgrim’s Journey,” by Kathleen Ritmeyer, evokes the sights and even the smells of bustling Jerusalem during a holy festival. In “Quarrying and Transporting Stones for Herod’s Temple Mount,” Leen Ritmeyer explains and illustrates the mystery of how limestone ashlars weighing 50 tons and more were quarried, transported and set in place in the Temple Mount walls.
Leen and Kathleen Ritmeyer met in 1975, while working on the Temple Mount excavations. Originally from Holland, Leen trained as a teacher of physical education in Arnhem before coming to Israel. His work on the Temple Mount excavations, initially as surveyor and then as architect, served as a springboard to a career as an archaeological architect at numerous digs in Israel. Ritmeyer has worked at three other major Jerusalem excavations—the Jewish Quarter, the City of David and the Citadel—producing important reconstruction drawings for all.
Kathleen is originally from Ireland, where she earned a B.A. degree in archaeology from University College, Dublin. She has excavated at sites in western Ireland, in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland and at Tel Akko in Israel.
As partners in the Jerusalem-based firm “Archaeological Design,” the Ritmeyers produce posters, journal articles and educational materials on the restoration of ancient sites in Israel.
Moving from the grandeur and majesty of the Temple Mount to a subject minuscule and somewhat unsavory, this issue also features a wholly different aspect of ancient life—the pesky problem of lice. Lice have posed a personal health problem to humankind probably since our species began—today’s lice can be traced back four to eight million years on the evolutionary timeline—and they are still a problem in many poor societies. Using tools associated more often with biology than archaeology, Kostas Y. Mumcuoglu and Joseph Zias have examined two dozen remarkably well-preserved lice combs, and even lice remains and lice embryos, discovered in excavations near the Dead Sea. Mumcuoglu and Zias explain the surprisingly effective ways this common nuisance was dealt with in “How the Ancients De-Loused Themselves.”
Dr. Mumcuoglu was born in 1946 of Greek parents in Istanbul, Turkey. He is a research biologist in the department of parasitology at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, studying human lice and tick-borne diseases. The author of Dermatological Entomology, Mumcuoglu has published more than 90 articles. In 1983 he was awarded the Wilhelm-Lutz Award by the Swiss Society of Dermatology and Venerology. Joseph Zias is curator of the permanent collection of the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums. He specializes in paleopathology (the study of ancient diseases) and its impact on past populations and on the course of human history. He is especially interested in Biblical leprosy and tuberculosis. For relaxation, Zias enjoys long-distance running, hiking and guiding tour groups.
In “New Hope for the Unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls,” BAR editor Hershel Shanks details the good news and the bad news regarding the still secret texts. Shanks reports that important texts are being reassigned to new scholars and that a catalogue of unpublished texts is promised for next summer; but the scholar-editors still refuse to give outside scholars blanket access to photographs of the unpublished texts. Shanks calls for continuing the reassignment of texts, stringent monitoring of publication schedules and open access to all texts by outside scholars.
Do you pronounce BAS (the acronym for Biblical Archaeology Society) like “boss” or like the name of the fish? Do you say each letter of B.A.R., or do you pronounce it like the establishment that vends beverages? Readers are called on to settle these compelling questions in
Don’t leave home without this issue of BAR if you plan to visit the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. In “Reconstructing Herod’s Temple Mount in Jerusalem,” a dazzling display of drawings by architectural artist Leen Ritmeyer brings the excavated remains of this holy site to life. Leen and co-author Kathleen Ritmeyer (his wife) take you on a unique tour of the perimeter of the Temple Mount. Along the way, the Ritmeyers reveal archaeological evidence—some quite familiar, other elements hardly noticed before—discovered during the excavations directed by Professor Benjamin Mazar. This evidence is our clue to the appearance of the original […]