“To the Place of Trumpeting”
Inscribed stone from the excavations of the southern wall of the Temple Mount
Herodian period, 1st century CE
L: 84 cm: H: 31 cm; W 26 cm
Israel Antiquities Authority, IAA 78-1439
This incised stone block is one of the most fascinating remains of Herod's Temple. It apparently fell from the southwest corner of the Temple Mount to the street below, where it was discovered by excavators. The Jewish chronicler Josephus Flavius records that this corner was "the point where it was custom for one of the priests to stand and to give notice, by sound of trumpet, in the afternoon of the approach, and on the following evening of the close, of every seventh day" (The Jewish War, IV, ix, 12).
The monumental inscription -- "to the place of trumpeting" -- and the shape of the stone suggest that this find was once part of a parapet that ran along the wall of the Temple complex, indicating where the priests should stand to blow the trumpets. Their blasts could presumably be heard throughout Jerusalem -- in the City of David to the south and in Upper City to the west.
The third word of the Hebrew inscription is cut off and can be interpreted in one of two ways: "to declare [the Sabbath]" or "to distinguish [between the sacred and the profane]."