Tonight I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Gavriel Barkay speak at the Ahavath Torah Congregation in Stoughton, Massachusetts. Dr. Barkay spoke about the Temple Mount Sifting Project. The project takes mounds of Temple Mount material from the Kidron Valley dump to the Tzurim Valley National Park and sifts through the mounds for archaeological finds.
The website of the Temple Mount Sifting Project explains some of what the sifters have learned:
Early in the Sifting Project, we already noticed that there were differences in the frequencies of certain types of finds from different areas. Moreover, similar finds, and sometimes fragments of the same object, were discovered within short periods of time. This suggested that these similar objects were originally next to each other. But the full significance and value of dividing the material at the dump into different areas was discovered only last summer, during the processing of quantitative data for the Third Preliminary Report which we recently published. We found that artifacts which we assume to be from the same context were also distributed in a similar manner. Another example is that we found that artifacts which can be identified with the Horses of the Crusader era Templar Knights were distributed in a similar way among the dump areas.
The soil involved in the Temple Mount Sifting Project was illegally removed from the Temple Mount, resulting in the loss of much archaeological information. It is encouraging to know that the volunteers of the Temple Mount Sifting Project are recovering valuable information despite the illegal removal of the dirt from the Temple Mount.