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Archaeologists from Israel have made an important discovery during excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem: a clay seal that belonged to an ancient Hebrew ruler of the city.
Why is this important?
The mystery seal is about 2,700 years old, according to the Israeli television channel ITV, with reference to the Israeli Antiquities Authority who have confirmed the find.
The discovery was made by experts next to the western wall of the Temple Mount, near the Western Wall.
It is a burned clay impression the size of a tiny coin, 2-3 millimeters thick. But despite its small size, it carries an important meaning on its surface.
As noted by archaeologists, in the upper part of the seal two figures are visible, one in front of the other, and in the lower part there is an inscription in ancient Hebrew: “belonging to the governor of the city,”
As noted by Reuters, the archeologists who discovered the seal will present the piece to the current mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, and the seal will be on a temporary exhibit at the mayor’s office.
“It is very overwhelming to receive greetings from First Temple-period Jerusalem,” Barkat said in a statement, according to the Antiquities Authority.
As noted by archaeologists, the governors of the city are mentioned two times in the Bible—referring to Joshua holding the governor’s position in 2 Kings, during the reign of King Hezekiah and in 2 Chronicles where Masseiah holds the position during the days of Josiah.
As noted by the Israel Antiquities Authority, quoting excavator Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, it is an extraordinary and rare find. Furthermore; “It supports the Biblical rendering of the existence of a governor of the city in Jerusalem 2,700 years ago.”
“The sealing had been attached to an important transport and was used as some sort of a logo, or perhaps as a tiny souvenir, which was sent on behalf of the governor of the city,” Weksler-Bdolah said in a statement. The governor was the highest local position in Jerusalem at the time. The coin-like seal shows two men standing up and facing each other. Both are wearing knee-length striped garments.
“It is extremely significative since it proves it’s not only in the Bible, but there really was a ruler of Jerusalem during the late first temple period,” noted Weksler-Bdolah, in a YouTube video published by the Israel Antiquities Authority on Sunday.
“We were here for five years patiently digging, slowly from the level of the Western Wall plaza to the bedrock,” said Weksler-Bdolah. After the small piece of clay called a docket was found, it became one of the seven seals found at the site.”