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For the first time in the archaeological research, researchers were able to restore certain architectural components with high certainty. These components were used in the construction of the Second Temple and its courtyards, from the time of the reign of King Herod (37 to 4 BCE). The reconstruction is of floors decorated with different colors and geometric patterns that were apparently used in the stoas that surrounded the Temple complex, and perhaps also in other important buildings, and the large squares where the many pilgrims who came to the Temple would gather.
About 600 colored stone paving tiles were discovered during screening of the dirt from the Temple Mount was conducted at the works center at the Emek Tzurim National Park by researchers from Bar Ilan University and funded by the City of David Association and the Foundation for the Advancement of Archeology in Israel. About 100 of them have been dated with certainty to the days of the Second Temple, based on their measurements that correspond to the standard of the Roman foot (which is 29.6 cm long) and parallels from Herod’s palaces in Masada, Herodion, Jericho and other sites. Further, dating is based on similar floors discovered in palaces and luxurious villas In Italy, buildings also attributed to the time of Herod.
The original floors will be presented to the general public the day after tomorrow in the City of David National Park, at the annual archaeological conference of the Megalim Institute.
These floor tiles were created from different types of marble and colored stones, most of which were imported from Rome, Asia Minor, Tunisia and Egypt. They were sawn and cut into different geometric shapes.
Recently, Frankie Schneider, a member of the research team of the screening/sifting project, and an expert in the study of antique decorated floors, managed to reproduce some of the magnificent models that decorated the Temple Mount’s courtyards and its wings. Schneider, who began her activity at Emek Tzurim as a volunteer about 9 years ago, has an academic background in mathematics and Judaism. Schneider harnessed her extensive professional knowledge for the purpose of reproducing the geometric models.