'Old Tabernacle' excavation at Provo temple site called a once-in-a-lifetime experience

Published: Friday, March 30 2012 6:13 p.m. MDT

The site now reveals a 50-foot by 80-foot foundation of stones in a limestone mortar in walls that are 6 to 7 feet thick at the base and 4 feet thick as they rise toward grade level.

There has been an interest in Provo in keeping the excavated foundation intact. The church has not detailed its final plans for the overall temple development, but it has offered the foundation stone to the city of Provo.

Saturday is the final scheduled day for work at the archaeology dig, but Talbot said project work will continue elsewhere. There are pictures of the outside of the building, but none of the inside. "We would always like more photos. We've had a lot of people come by and tell us about their connection to the building's history. Maybe there are some out there with pictures. We'd love to have them."

Artifacts retrieved during the dig will continue to be processed and may soon be on display at BYU.

"I hope that people see the parallels and the connections between the soon-to-be constructed temple and the Old Tabernacle," Talbot said. "I believe there is a bond between the past and the present that is manifest in this site. I like to imagine how excited the first pioneers who built this meetinghouse would be to know that their sacrifice and toil has ultimately resulted in a temple of God."

E-mail: sfidel@desnews.com

Twitter: SteveFidel

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