Araunah the Yevusi sells the land upon which the beis hamikdash will eventually be built to Dovid HaMelech (II Shemuel 24:18). Subsequently his skull is found underneath the mizbeach at least twice (and possibly a third time) by King Hizkiyahu, as per Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 1:2 and Tosfos to Bavli 12a, and the navi Haggai.
What, if anything, is the conceptual significance of this person's skull being found, repeatedly, under the mizbeach?
Furthermore, I have several questions assuming, as Tosfos seems to, that we take this literally
- Why was there any remains found there at all? Weren't these areas excavated, by Dovid while building the temple?
- If it was a Araunah family burial plot, as some explain, why was only the skull described as being found? And why of Araunah who presumably could not have buried himself there after selling the land
- Why wasn't the skull removed the first time it was found?
- Why did this cause anyone to be tamei (see gemarah and tosfos cited above)? The Rambam in hilchos tumas meis 9:4, based on bava metzeiah 114b rules that a non-Jew only conveys tumah by direct touch. Furthermore it is unclear if only a skull of a non-Jew can convey tumah.
- Why were they suddenly excavating under the mizbeah at all?