Jerusalem is probably the most important archaeological site available to the scientific historian. Few sites anywhere are likely to rival for the lure of discovery the extensive three-year-old excavations near the Southern and the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. Under the direction of Professor Benjamin Mazar, former President of Hebrew University, the "dig" along the walls of the Temple Mount is revealing to historians more about Jerusalem's past - especially the time of Herod and of Jesus - than any other record except Josephus' account and the Bible itself. There is an air of antiquity in every shovelful. To the Israelis, the dig is bringing to light, after nineteen centuries, the time of Herod the Great (sometimes called the period of the Second Temple). For nearly 1,900 years, there were only "empty centuries" after the Romans destroyed the Jewish state in A.D. 70 and shoved the giant stones down from the top of Jerusalem's Temple Mount Many Israelis emotionally associate themselves with the Herodian Commonwealth when the Second Temple was built.
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