Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums

“To the place of trumpeting to … ” Broken off mid-word, this Hebrew inscription appears on an eight-foot-long stone that probably marked the pinnacle of the Temple Mount’s southwest tower.

How did the inscription end? Although the existing letters are stark and clear, scholars have disagreed about how to complete the phrase. In this issue, Meir Ben-Dov, field director of the Temple Mount excavations, offers one interpretation: “For the Trumpet-Call Building, to Proclaim the Sabbath, Donated by…” Other scholars have proposed completing “To the place of trumpeting” with “(to) herald [the Sabbath].”

Author Aaron Demsky offers yet another suggestion: “To the place of trumpeting to distinguish between the sacred and the profane,” a phrase known from the Mishnah. Each of these completed statements tells us that very likely there was a special place atop the Temple Mount walls where a priest would stand and blow a trumpet to announce the beginning and the end of each Sabbath.