Discover Hidden Treasures at the Emeq Zurim Sifting Project in Jerusalem

June 18, 2018

The Temple Mount Sifting Project, under the auspices of Bar-Ilan University and with the support of the City of David Foundation and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, was initiated in response to the illegal removal of tons of earth from the Temple Mount by the Islamic Waqf in 1999 without any archaeological supervision. The Temple Mount Sifting Project was founded by Dr. Gabriel Barkay and Zachi Dvira and is located in the Tzurim Valley National Park in Jerusalem.

“Since the Temple Mount has never been excavated, the ancient artifacts retrieved in the Sifting Project provide valuable and previously inaccessible information.  The many categories of finds are among the largest and most varied ever found in Jerusalem. Even though they have been extracted from their archaeological context, most of these artifacts can be identified and dated by comparing them with those found at other sites,” said Zachi Dvira, co-founder and director of the Temple Mount Sifting Project.

The findings include the seal of King Hezekiah, an Egyptian amulet from the days of the Pharaohs, Babylonian arrowheads, jewels, mosaic stones and coins – these are only some of the exciting discoveries found over the years…  Since the project’s inception in 2004, more than 200,000 volunteers from Israel and around the world have taken part in the sifting, representing an unprecedented phenomenon in the realm of archaeological research.


The activity length is 1.5-2 hours and is great for groups and FITs alike!

Here is a story of an amazing discovery of a rare amulet, more than 3,200 years old, bearing the name of the Egyptian ruler Thutmose III, Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty who reigned from 1479 – 1425 BCE. The amulet was discovered by Neshama Spielman, a 12 year-old girl from Jerusalem who came with her family to participate in the Temple Mount Sifting Project. “While I was sifting, I came across a piece of pottery that was different from others I had seen, and I immediately thought that maybe I had found something special,” said Spielman. “It’s amazing to find something thousands of years old from ancient Egypt all the way here in Jerusalem!


The Emek Tzurim Sifting Project offers a fun-filled activity for the whole family that can be enjoyed in all weather conditions.

Participants receive a fascinating few minute crash course on the history of the Temple Mount and the Temple before joining the staff in sifting through the rubble.

The blog was written with the help of the City of David.

Photo credits: Zachi Dvira and Zeev Radovan