Israeli archaeologists say they have stumbled upon a sealed archaeological level and artifacts dating back to the first Jewish temple at a contested site in Jerusalem.
The dig is part of a renovation project at Jerusalem’s holiest site for both Muslims and Jews. Jews know the Old City compound as the Temple Mount and Muslims know it as the Noble Sanctuary.
The Israel Antiquities Authority overseeing the work announced today that it had discovered fragments of ceramic table wares and animal bones dating to the first Jewish temple — from the 6th to the 10th centuries B.C.
But Islamic authorities deny that any discovery was made, or that any Israeli archaeologists were supervising the work.
The site represents the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It houses both the Al Aqsa Mosque and the gold-capped Dome of the Rock, Islam’s third-holiest shrine, built over the ruins of both biblical Jewish temples.