Temple Mount Sifting Project

Temple Mount Sifting Project

The Temple Mount Sifting Project is the title of the weblog for the Temple Mount Salvage Operation. The blog serves as a platform to provide ongoing information about the progress of the project.

The salvage operation was established in 2004 by archaeologists, Gabriel Barkay and Zachi Dvira, under the sponsorship of Bar-Ilan University. The project, located on the western slopes of Mt. Scopus at Emek Tzurim National Park, is funded by the Ir-David Foundation in cooperation with the Israel National Parks Authority. The purpose of the salvage operation is to sift through tons of debris removed from the Temple Mount and dumped in the Kidron Valley by the northern branch of the Islamist movement in the years 1999-2000.

In order to find as many artifacts as possible the National Parks Authority set aside an area of the Emek Tzurim National Park with equipment to allow large groups of volunteers to use a wet sifting process. A majority of the finds are identified by comparing them to similar objects discovered in clear context. Since the operation began, over 170,000 people from around the world have volunteered to helped sift through the rubble.

A massive number of artifacts have been recovered since the project’s inception. Just recently it was announced that a rare 3,200-year-old Egyptian amulet was discovered four years ago by Neshama Spielman, a 12-year-old volunteer. Scholars have only recently deciphered the artifact’s hieroglyphics as “Thutmose III”, an Egyptian Pharoah who ruled from 1479 – 1425 BC.

Some other notable finds from the Temple Mount Sifting Project include:

  • First Temple-era bulla (seal impression)
  • Iron arrowhead with a shaft used by the 10th Roman Legion
  • Coins minted by the Herodian dynasty
  • Hundreds of floor tile fragments from the Herodian-era
  • Silver half-shekel coin dating to the Second Temple-era

Watch a short video about the Temple Mount Sifting Project.

October 21, 2016 Update – In response to the UN’s recent resolution the Israeli government has decided to help fund the NGO Temple Mount Sifting Project. Learn more in this Haaretz’ article.

Featured image above courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.


  1. Myra Epstein 6 years ago

    I just heard about the amazing project at The Westhampton Synagogue last week. In fact, I pledged a donation to the project. The congregants pledged over $200,000 to fund the project for a year!!!! SO wonderful.
    I would like to volunteer at the Temple Mount sifting project. I sent an email to tmsifting@gmail.com about volunyeering, but did not receive a reply, perhaps because of Shavuot. I will be in Israel for 6 weeks this summer and woud like to participate in this or some other sifting or archeological dig project. Please advise how I cn arrange this.
    Todah rabah.

    • Author
      Carol Moyers 6 years ago

      Hello Myra,
      Thank you for your comment. We’ve just learned the sifting has stopped in order to procure funding for the project. They have plans to resume in January 2018. For additional information you can click on this link to the Sifting Project’s website: https://templemount.wordpress.com/volunteer-information/. Thank you and all the best!

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