From the Jerusalem Post: Was the Aksa Mosque built over the remains of a Byzantine church?.
The photo archives of a British archeologist who carried out the only archeological excavation ever undertaken at the Temple Mount’s Aksa Mosque show a Byzantine mosaic floor underneath the mosque that was likely the remains of a church or a monastery, an Israeli archeologist said on Sunday. [continue, see photo].
It’s so unfortunate that the Palestinians won’t allow any archaeological excavation on the Temple Mount, and criminal that they tear up the ground for construction and just dump the artefacts like rubble. I hope I live to see an archaeological dig there.
It’s always amazing to me how some parts of the world are layered in history. One could do archaeological investigations, uncovering one stratum after another, going back in time thousands and thousands of years. It would not surprise me at all to find other structures or signs of habitation/public use farther down, if archaeologists and historians were allowed to do the digging and research.
To add a little more interest, there is some very suggestive evidence (which I detail here) that the Dome of the Rock follows the floorplan of an earlier Church of Mary Theotokos. This church and the surrounding area will have been destroyed by the Persians a mere 20 years before the Muslims took Jerusalem.
The lack of images of any of the churches atop the esplanade in the Madaba map is due to the unfortunate loss of exactly that part of the mosaic of Jerusalem.
“The lack of images of any of the churches atop the esplanade in the Madaba map is due to the unfortunate loss of exactly that part of the mosaic of Jerusalem.”
Interesting. I wonder if that was deliberate?