David Harris

A slab of stone, excavated beneath the floor of the Byzantine church, perplexed the Dominican fathers one hundred years ago—but gives author Barkay additional evidence for an Egyptian temple in Jerusalem. Measuring about 3.5 by 2 feet, the white stone is divided into thirds by two shallow channels; in addition, a perpendicular channel leads to a spout that poured into a pit (see drawing). One Dominican scholar dated this slab to the Byzantine period, but nothing like it has ever been found in any Byzantine church. Instead, the slab resembles offering tables from Egypt; Barkay believes it was used for pouring some sort of liquid at the Egyptian temple in Jerusalem. Excavations of Late Bronze Age Canaanite temples have revealed similar installations, including one at Hazor (see photograph).