In recent years Barkai has been involved in a controversial project – together with his assistant Zachi Zweig he has been sifting through the rubble which the Islamic Waqf (“Keepers of the Holy Places”) authorities have been removing from caverns and structures being renovated underneath the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and dumping in the Kidron Valley under the old city walls.
Scholars usually question the archeological value of finds from such an exploration, due to the difficulty of accurately dating objects, which are not embedded in the surrounding strata. Yet the excavated rubble has already yielded a large amount of fascinating artifacts. The particular find which concerns us was a tiny cross pendant bearing a wealth of curious symbolism, which was originally taken by the two archeologists to be Masonic or “Templar”.
The current article is primarily a short compilation of what has been discovered about this pendant so far, with possible avenues for further research in this regard.
The recent popularity of these topics had sparked a certain amount of interest in the find, and it was reported on September 2 in an article by the Israeli daily Haaretz newspaper. The Hebrew version of that article is still available online at the time of the current writing (May 2006) .
The English version was taken offline about a month after it appeared, but has been reprinted in other places, and is available today on Philip Gardiner’s site at http://www.phil.fah-designs.com/gardinerosborn/articles/article_17.html and on Dirk Vander Ploeg’s UFODigest at http://www.ufodigest.com/templemount.html
The two archeologists did not relegate much importance to this find beyond curiosity, as they are much more interested in recovering First and Second Temple artifacts, to try and settle the controversy regarding the historical existence of Solomon’s temple. But Zweig was captivated by the tiny intricate symbolism, and, as mentioned in the Haaretz article, had written to Prof. Andrew Prescott of the Freemasonry Research Center at the University of Sheffield, to inquire about a possible Masonic connection.
Prescott did not comment himself on the symbols, but referred Zweig to Mark Dennis, the curator of the Masonic Museum in London. Dennis supplied the following identification of the visible images on the pendant:
On one side in the center is the Cup of Jesus (one accepted name for which is the “Holy Grail”), superimposed on the two Lances bearing the Poisoned Sponges, and surrounded by the Crown of Thorns. On the three surrounding panels are the tools of the Carpenter trade – a hammer, pliers, and three nails (with which Jesus was nailed to the cross.)
On the other side, the letters IHS are seen inside the central sunburst. The bottom panel shows the Lamb reposing on the Book of Revelations sealed by the Seven Seals. Dennis identifies the right panel facing the viewer as showing “wheat stalks”, but Zweig says it looks like an inclined bowl or pot. I feel, however, that it is also reminiscent of some depictions of “the Horn of Plenty”. The image on the left panel was not identified by either of the two, but from magnification of the photograph appears to me as being a dove perched on a branch.
Dennis wrote back to Zweig that the symbols are very obviously strictly “Christian and not Masonic”. Each one of the symbols is very well-known throughout the various Christian denominations, and none of them can be associated with specific Freemason symbolism of any lodge he knows. Zweig also failed to find the symbols in any Masonic catalogue, and lost further interest in this cross as being anything more than another unimportant and comparatively modern curio.
As noted, the dating of any artifact originating in the excavated rubble poses a great problem. It’s unknown when this material was dumped in the caverns beneath Solomon’s Stables, or where it came from. Removed from the strata within which it was originally buried, an object’s age can be usually determined only by its state of preservation and comparison with similar pieces or art forms, both highly unreliable methods.
To read the full and illustrated version of this find, please visit http://www.book-of-thoth.com/article1535.html