Duby Tal and Moni Haramat/Albatross Photos

The Western Wall of Herod’s expanded Temple Mount, approached via the plaza (bottom left), has been for centuries the site most revered by Jews. In a monumental building project, Herod the Great enlarged the originally square Temple Mount on its north, south and west sides. The open-air prayer area visible today is only a portion of the extant western retaining wall of Herod’s Temple platform. Investigators have excavated a tunnel under the western wall and exposed previously inacessible portions of the wall, starting at the righthand archway near the center of the photo and running north to upper left. Dan Bahat, former district archaeologist for Jerusalem and archaeological consultant to the excavating team, walks us through the underground area adjacent to the western wall, pointing out the contributions of Crusader, Muslim, Herodian and Hasmonean builders.