Israeli archeologists say they have stumbled upon a sealed archeological level dating to the First Temple period.
The discovery at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, where the archeologists are overseeing contested Islamic infrastructure work, was announced Sunday by the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The find marks the first time that archeological remains dating back to the First Temple period have been found on the bitterly contested holy site, the state-run archeological body said. The Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is the holiest site of Judaism and the third holiest site for Islam.
The sealed archeological level, which dates from the eighth to the sixth centuries B.C.E., includes fragments of ceramic table wares and animal bone.
Independent Israeli archeologists from the nonpartisan Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, which repeatedly has lambasted the Antiquities Authority for allowing Islamic officials to carry out the infrastructure work this summer, downplayed the findings.