Writing from Rome after the Romans had destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D., the Jewish historian Josephus described its glorious gates as having been plated in gold.1
BAR has recently learned that examples of gold-plated building stones were discovered in the excavations at the southern wall of the Temple Mount conducted in the 1960s and 1970s under the overall direction of Professor Benjamin Mazar and field director Meir Ben-Dov, but they were never published.
BAR has obtained this picture of a gold-coated building stone discovered in the excavation and photographed by Ben-Dov. This is its first publication.
This extraordinary find surfaced for a second time in connection with the ongoing forgery trial in a Jerusalem court. One of the items that the government charges is a forgery is the so-called Yehoash or Jehoash tablet, describing repairs to the Temple by King Jehoash in the late ninth century B.C., as described in the Bible (2 Kings 12).a
Several very prominent scholars maintain the inscription is a clear forgery. Other equally prominent scholars are not so sure.