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It's been a while since I have visited the archeological sites near the Temple area. I believe that you appreciate what you read in history is best appreciated by personally seeing it.

As I plan to be in Yerushalayim, soon, I'd like someone who can recommend (or, perhaps, if you live in Yerushalayim, you might personally want to do this?) recommend a high-quality yet reasonable tour that can correlate Talmudic and / or other descriptions of the 1st or 2nd Temple period with viewing the actual archeological findings. I've been to the "Temple model" places. They're good for getting a general perspective, but I'm looking to see what may be left of the actual "items". E.g., if they may have located any part of the Temple platform, altars, tools used, cisterns, pipes, etc. I am also taking the more "lenient side" regarding entry to the Temple Mount area (if someone is concerned about that.)

If you, personally, are willing to provide the tour, please send me your email so that I can contact you, privately.

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    Believe it or not, we have our very own religious tour guide on MY, Aaron Shaffier (here on MY and here in real life). I have never worked with him but from his twitter activities I can say he loves the land and knows a lot. Worth asking him – mbloch Jul 25 at 16:15
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    Hi Dan! I've learned a lot about the archeology of the Land from a long(long, lonnnng) running subscription to Biblical Archaeology Review. You can find all sorts of info out at BAS's site: biblicalarchaeology.org . Dr Barkay of the Sifting Projects mentioned below is a regular contributor, as well as most archeologists doing digs in the Land. – Gary Jul 25 at 22:15
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The Western Wall Heritage Foundation offers the very popular Western Wall Tunnels Tour, which takes tourists under Jerusalem's Muslim Quarter, along the length of the western retaining wall of Herod's expansion of the Temple Mount ("Kotel Hama'aravi"). On this tour, you get to see different shapes and sizes of stones in the wall from different eras, going back to the Second Temple period. You also get to walk on a piece of Second Temple period road. I've been on this tour recently and would recommend it to any first-time (or first-time-in-a-long-time) visitor to Jerusalem. They also offer a "Behind the Scenes" tour of more sites in the Kotel area, which I have not been on.

The Temple Institute offers an online guide to ascending the Temple Mount. They allude therein to daily tours for Jews, but I don't see contact information. I have not ascended the Temple Mount, but I have been to the Temple Institute's museum, and recommend it strongly, though it's oriented toward the next Temple rather than toward archaeology, so not directly relevant to your question.

There are no legal archaeological digs on the Temple Mount itself, due to Halachic, political, and security issues. However, there is a project called the Temple Mount Sifting Project that is going through piles of dirt illegally excavated from the Temple Mount, to find artifacts. The public is invited to come participate in the sifting, so you have a chance to search for pieces of the Temples. I did this recently and highly recommend it. In addition, there is another very similar project, the Ancient Jerusalem Sifting Project, that goes through dirt from other locations. I found that the recently-reopened Temple Mount one was a more laid-back, more personalized experience, so I recommend that one more, but they're both great. At the end of both of these programs, staff members show you some samples of significant artifacts that have been found previously as part of these projects.

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    The sifting project is a wonderful activities with kids indeed – mbloch Jul 25 at 16:16
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    Buzzkill warning, but the sifting project is close to useless archaeologically/scientifically since it's not in situ and is more for political morale and as a tourist trap. (It does raise awareness of a massive crime against humanity by the waqf.) – Double AA Jul 25 at 16:20
  • @DoubleAA What you give up in potential to contribute to science, you gain in personal contact, which is one of the criteria particularly requested by DanF. Due to Halacha, history, and politics, our ability to a) come into personal contact with artifacts that b) are certainly c) from the Temples is very limited, so you have to compromise on at least one of those elements. Reading/hearing about stuff compromises on (a), walking along the Kotel compromises on (c), and doing sifting compromises on (b) for (a) and a shot at (c). – Isaac Moses Jul 25 at 17:15
  • I enjoyed quite much the tunnels, finally I understood many things about the location of the different parts of the BhM complex. – Kazi bácsi Jul 25 at 17:27
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I'm not sure if he'll take you to the Temple Mount, but R' Simcha Hochbaum runs weekly tours and is worth checking out (website: The Hebron Fund).

From the site:

Rav Simcha guides individuals, families and groups in the Old City of Jerusalem every week (generally Tuesdays) and runs other trips throughout Yehuda & Shomron. His love for these regions is apparent, as he brings out the holiness and special grace of Israel, connecting people to the Bible and to their roots.

  • For more info/ research about it, just google him etc – alicht Jul 25 at 16:22

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