Archaeologists working in Jerusalem have unearthed floor tiling that was part of the courtyards of King Herod’s Second Temple more than 2,000 years ago.
Six hundred floor tile fragments have been recovered from rubble that the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, which manages the Muslim buildings at the site, removed from the area around the Temple Mount. The news came this week, in an announcement from the archaeologists working with the Temple Mount Sifting Project.
The tiles were opulent, said Frankie Snyder, a member of the archaeology project. “This type of flooring, called ‘opus sectile,’ Latin for ‘cut work,’ is very expensive and was considered to be far more prestigious than mosaic tiled floors. The tile segments were perfectly inlaid, such that one could not even insert a sharp blade between them.”
The archaeologists reconstructed what they believe the original tiles may have looked like, based on the shapes of the recovered fragments and the floors of other buildings Herod built.
JTA Wire Service