The Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) has made an extraordinary archaeological finding: It has uncovered a Second Temple Era iron chisel, which may have served the builders of the Second Temple.
Archaeologist Eli Shukrun, who heads the dig at the bottom of the Temple Mount near the Western Wall, stated that the discovery was very exciting. "It is a 15 CM long ancient chisel. For the first time, after 2,000 years, we are in the possession of a work tool used by the builders who built the Kotel, the Western Wall."
The IAA stated the chisel had been uncovered a year ago, but was still waiting for the final research on the subject to be completed before making an official announcement.
"I have no doubt that it belongs to the time the Wall was built," Shukron said. "We found it at the base of the Western Wall, about six meters below the main street of Jerusalem in the era of the Second Temple. The coins we found in the area, and ceramics too, indicate that it was at the time the Western Wall was built."
"The chisel itself was found inside rubble of stone chips that fell from the stonemasons working on the rocks comprising the Western Wall," he added.
Additional findings by the same team of archeologists include cooking utensils, weapons from the Roman empire, and a golden bell that could have been used by priests in the temple.
The Second Temple was the center of Jewish worship during its period. Built by the Jews returning from the Babylonian exile and renovated and expanded by King Herod, it stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jews of the Kingdom of Judah went to exile.