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The Hellenistic gold ring found in the Dity of David, Jerusalem.         Source: Israel Antiquities Authority

A ‘Deeply Moving’ Hellenistic Gold Ring Found in Jerusalem

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In the heart of the ancient City of David, a glimmering and emotive piece of history has been unearthed. A gem-encrusted gold ring, dating back to the early Hellenistic period, was recently discovered during an archaeological dig by the Israel Antiquities Authority and Tel Aviv University, This significant find, funded by the Elad association, will be showcased to the public for the first time at the "Jerusalem Mysteries" conference on Jerusalem Day.

The Ring and Its Journey

The exquisite gold ring, inlaid with a red gemstone believed to be garnet, has been remarkably preserved over the past 2,300 years. The announcement by the Israel Antiquity Authority explains how the ring’s discovery was a stroke of luck, found by Tahya Gangata, a diligent excavator in the City of David:

"I sifted the dirt through a sieve and suddenly I saw something shiny," she recalls. "I immediately shouted: 'I found a ring, I found a ring!' In a few seconds, everyone gathered around me, and the enthusiasm was great. It's an exciting find that you don't find every day, and I'm happy that my dream came true - just a week before I left for maternity leave."

The ring is described as, ‘an unusual and deeply moving find’ on their Facebook page.

The small diameter of the ring suggests it was worn on a woman’s little finger, or by a boy or girl living in Jerusalem during the Hellenistic period. Dr. Yeftah Shalev and Ricky Zlot Har-Tov, the excavation managers from the Antiquities Authority, noted that the ring fits a child’s finger or a woman’s little finger. Dr. Marion Zindel explained that the ring was crafted using a braiding technique of thin, pre-cut gold leaves on a metal ring base, typical of the fashion from the end of the 4th century to the beginning of the 3rd century BC.

Ring finder, Tahya Gangata, showing off the ring. (Israel Antiquities Authority)

Ring finder, Tahya Gangata, showing off the ring. (Israel Antiquities Authority)

Prof. Yuval Gadot from Tel Aviv University and Efrat Butzer, also leading the excavation, mentioned that this discovery joins other significant finds from the City of David, including a gold earring shaped like a horned animal and a decorated gold bead, both from the Hellenistic layers. These artifacts paint a new picture of Jerusalem during the early Hellenistic period, suggesting it was a city of wealth and cultural exchange.

A Window into Hellenistic Jerusalem

Previously, researchers believed that Jerusalem during this era was a small, modestly populated city confined to the southeastern hill, known as the City of David. However, recent discoveries are reshaping this narrative.

The array of buildings and gold jewelry found in the Givat parking lot excavation site suggests a thriving urban center expanding westward, featuring both private and public constructions. These findings indicate a prosperous economy and the presence of a wealthy elite class. Additionally, the stylistic influences in the jewelry reveal an openness to Hellenistic cultural trends, prevalent across the Eastern Mediterranean.

Gold jewelry from the Hellenistic world, beginning with Alexander the Great's conquests, was often adorned with mythological figures or animals symbolizing various attributes. The preserved condition of the ring, due to gold's resistance to corrosion, offers a pristine glimpse into the craftsmanship and aesthetic preferences of the period.

Public Unveiling and Further Research

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) is keen to share these intriguing discoveries with the public. On Jerusalem Day, the "Jerusalem Mysteries" conference will offer free access to the public, providing insights into the latest archaeological innovations in the city.

According to Eli Escozido, director of the IAA;

"The excavations in ancient Jerusalem expose us to invaluable information about our past. On the occasion of Jerusalem Day, we are happy to invite the public to an evening that will deal with intriguing innovations in the archaeology of the city, free of charge."

Top Image: The Hellenistic gold ring found in the Dity of David, Jerusalem.         Source: Israel Antiquities Authority

By Gary Manners

 
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Gary

Gary is an editor and content manager for Ancient Origins. He has a BA in Politics and Philosophy from the University of York and a Diploma in Marketing from CIM. He has worked in education, the educational sector, social work... Read More

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