A stone finger, believed to be a part of a statue created in Egypt, has been uncovered by archaeologists sifting through the soil from an illegal excavation on the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, Israel, dumped in the Kidron Valley by the Muslim Waqf in 1999.
The uncovered finger is believed to be a fragment of a life-size statue, which was designed in Egypt and imported to the land of Canaan. The fragment is part of a pinky finger measuring 3.5 cm, from a man’s hand, which includes also a fingernail. The statue is made of a durable black stone originating in Egypt, most likely representing a figure of a god or king. It was made in the Egyptian art style common during the Late Bronze Age, about 3500 years ago. However, there is still a possibility the statue is from a later period such as the Iron Age, or First Temple period (10th-6th cent. BC) or even later.
Over the course of 13 years archaeologist managed to sift 400 truckloads of soil, which contains an abundance of finds which shed much light on the history of the Temple Mount through the ages. So far about 70% of the soil was sifted. The Temple Mount Sifting Project has yielded additional artefacts which were imported from Egypt or manufactured under Egyptian influence, such as statue fragment of a man’s shoulder, scarabs, seal impressions, and Egyptian-style jewellery all dating to the Late Bronze Age. Ancient Egypt ruled over the Land of Israel during the second half of the 2nd Millennium BC, the days of the Egyptian New Kingdom and of the 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties.
Jerusalem is known to have been a semi-independent city-state, located in the Egyptian Canaanite province. The amount of discovered artefacts from this period discovered in recent years in the City of David may testify to the existence of an Egyptian temple in Jerusalem in the area of the St Etienne Monastery adjacent to the Damascus Gate, and dated to the 13th century BC.
(after Temple Mount Sifting Project & Miriam Alster)