Read: Matthew 24:1-2 (www.biblestudytools.com/nrs/matthew/24.html)
Sing: To God Be the Glory, UMH 99
These excavations were begun by Benjamin Mazar in 1968 and were the largest earth-moving archeological projects in Israel. Work continued here until 1978 and was resumed in the 1990s under the direction of Ronny Reich. These excavations are the most important for understanding the Temple Mount because of the impossibility of excavating on the Temple Mount itself.
The area of this archeological work includes a small area west of the Dung Gate road, the area around the base of the Temple Mount retaining wall starting at the southwest corner and extending north to the Western Wall Plaza and extending east to the southeast corner of the retaining wall and Ophel Road.
During the time of Solomon’s Temple the area along the western wall was the Tyropoeon (later the Central) Valley which formed a steep barrier for Jerusalem. This valley was partially filled during the 8th century BC by King Hezekiah in order to expand the city to the West. But the valley still drained the western side of Mount Moriah and the eastern side of Mount Zion. The water would drain to the south into the Kidron Valley near its confluence with the Hinnom Valley.
Herod the Great had the eastern half of the Tyropoeon Valley filled in with the Temple Mount and its massive retaining wall. The bottom of the valley was covered with a street lined on both sides with shops. Under the street was a sophisticated two level drainage system.
When the Romans destroyed everything on top of the Temple Mount, in 70 AD, much of the debris was pushed onto the street far below which ran along the base of the western wall of the Temple Mount. This debris remained where it fell for almost two thousand years until the Southern Wall Excavations started in 1968. Some of that debris remains in place today as an example of what happened to the Temple – just as Jesus said.