Discovery Reveals Pre-Muslim, Christian Presence On Temple Mount

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Discovery Reveals Pre-Muslim, Christian Presence On Temple Mount - Encounter Today - Blog

Recently discovered Byzantine-era coin weights are evidence there was a Christian presence on the Temple Mount before the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem.

Israel Numismatic Research argues that the discovery of two coin weights found in the soil of the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, could point to a church once resting on the land. According to The Times of Israel, “a Christian presence on the Temple Mount has not been a focal point for historians and has been downplayed by authorities” thus why there has been so little published on the finding.

Members of the Temple Mount Sifting Project (TMSP) uncovered the two Byzantine-era coin weights which are “very rare four keration denomination.” According to a press release from the TMSP, this equates to roughly 0.6g in today’s metrics.

Coins found on Temple Mount - Encounter Today - Blog

An Imperial mark adorns a purple glass stamp whose significance cannot be understood due to its meaning being lost to history. “Weights of this type have been described as ‘Imperial’ due to the presence of one or more imperial busts. The name Euthalius apparently refers to a high-ranking Byzantine official under whose authority the weights were manufactured … between 550–650 CE.” The second coin is brass and has a Greek Kappa Delta marking in a silver inlay.

Coins found on Temple Mount - Encounter Today - Blog

The press release states that the coin most likely originated in Constantinople, the old Byzantine capital, and was brought to Jerusalem before the Muslim conquest. Nearly a dozen Byzantine-era coin weights have been found from the Temple Mount.

Analysis indicates they were likely official imperial weights of a kind that were required by 6th century Byzantine law to be present in major churches.

“The maintenance of official weights at the local level was set out in Byzantine law. For example, in 545 CE Emperor Justinian ordered that an official set of weights were ‘to be preserved in the most holy church of each city’. It is possible, if not likely, that at least one of the Temple Mount weights discovered by the TMSP was one of these “official weights,” the report reads.

In order to fully understand this part of Israel, more research is required but this fascination discovery could initiate the launch of more pointed research into Israel pre-Muslim conquest.

The TMSP has also “found a lot of fancy floor tiling from the Byzantine period, which was only used on monumental buildings. We also found pieces of chancel screens, which is an element of early church architecture, and lots of Byzantine-era mosaic stones, meaning that someone had invested a lot in flooring,” one of the study’s co-authors, Haim Shaham, told The Daily Caller.

Shaham disagrees with historians who assume the Temple Mount was a dump and believes this could be a case of “history being written by the victors.”

“We have all this Byzantine material which shows that something was going on, but up until a decade ago, the consensus was that during the Byzantine period, the Temple Mount was desolate. But in actuality, a lot was going on during the Byzantine era, and from what we have found, it can be comfortably associated with a church,” he added.

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