BAR 36:05, Sep/Oct 2010
How many pottery sherds have been recovered during the course of the Temple Mount Sifting Project?
Answer: 3.2 million
Since it officially began work in 2004, the Temple Mount Sifting Project, tasked with sifting through hundreds of truckloads of earth and debris illegally and recklessly removed from the Temple Mount by Muslim authorities in 1999, has recovered and counted well over three million pieces of pottery. It will take a lot of time fully to process and analyze that much pottery, but project directors Gabriel Barkay and Zachi Zweig already estimate that about 15 percent of the sherds date to the First Temple period (1000–586 B.C.E.), while 40 percent come from the period of the Second Temple (516 B.C.E.–70 C.E.). The majority of the remaining sherds can be dated to the Byzantine (330–638 C.E.) and Early Islamic (638–1099 C.E.) periods.