Is this Seal More Evidence for the Biblical Account of Jerusalem?
Israeli archaeologists announced the discovery of a 2,700-year-old clay seal of “immense archaeological value” near the plaza of the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, five years after the launch of excavation works at the site.
Ancient Clay Seal of Particular Archaeological Value Discovered in Israel
On the first day of the year, archaeologists from Israel announced the discovery of the ancient artifact, noting that the seal was inscribed with ancient Hebrew script translating to “belonging to the governor of the city,” the most prestigious local position held in Jerusalem at the time, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.
“The sealing had been attached to an important transport and served as some sort of logo, or as a tiny souvenir, which was sent on behalf of the governor of the city," Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, an archaeologist and excavator at the site, stated as Newsweek reports.
The small object portrays two men in striped robes facing each other above the Hebrew inscription that reads “lesar ha'air.” Interestingly, both are wearing knee-length striped garments.
The seal recently found near the Western Wall Plaza measures 13x15 mm. (Image: IAA)
Ancient Jerusalem’s governors are mentioned in the Bible in two different cases: in one case the Bible refers to Joshua holding the governor’s position during the reign of King Hezekiah, and in another refers to Masseiah being a governor during the days of Josiah. According to Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, the discovery is particularly significant from a historical point of view as it supports the Biblical claims, “It supports the Biblical rendering of the existence of a governor of the city in Jerusalem 2,700 years ago,” she said as Reuters reported. And added, “It’s very important because it proves it’s not only in the Bible, but there really was a governor of Jerusalem around the late first temple period,” according to a YouTube video released by the Israel Antiquities Authority on Sunday.
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The Hebrew inscription that reads “lesar ha'air.” Which translates as, “the governor of the city”. (Image: Youtube Screenshot IAA)
Newly Found Artifact Presented to Current Mayor of Jerusalem
Newsweek reported that the archaeologists who made the discovery presented the ancient artifact to the current mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat. As the Israel Antiquities Authority announced the ancient clay seal will be on short-term display in the mayor's office. "It is very overwhelming to receive greetings from First Temple-period Jerusalem," Mayor Barkat said in a statement, according to the Antiquities Authority.
Five Years of Excavations Eventually Pay Off
The ancient object was discovered close to the Western Wall of Jerusalem during a dig by the Israel Antiquities Authority. “We were here for five years digging slowly, slowly from the level of the Western Wall plaza to bedrock,” Weksler-Bdolah stated as Newsweek reports. She also added that the newly found piece of clay called a docket, is only one of the seven seals uncovered at the site, pinpointing in this way the uniqueness of the object. Another similar ancient artifact was unearthed in Jerusalem back in 2015 at a dump site, which archaeologists speculate may have been the seal of King Hezekiah, as CNN reported at the time.
Some of the other seals found at the site. (Image: Youtube Screenshot IAA)
However, Weksler-Bdolah suggests that the most recent find is of immense importance and archaeological value, as it sheds light on a series of things.
“It is likely that one of the buildings in our excavation was the destination of this transport [cargo], sent by the city governor,” she says as Daily Mail reported. And continues, “The finding of a seal with this high-rank title, in addition to the large assemblage of actual seals found in the building in the past, supports the assumption that this area, located on the western slopes of the western hill of ancient Jerusalem, some 100 meters (328 feet) west of the Temple Mount, was inhabited by highly ranked officials during the First Temple period. This is the first time that such a sealing is found in an authorized excavation,” Daily Mail reports.
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Area of excavation near the Western Wall in Jerusalem where the seal has been found. (Image: Youtube Screenshot IAA)
Curiously, the Antiquities Authority’s announcement came only a few weeks after American President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a decision that pretty much canceled a decades-old policy on the status of the city and stirred Palestinian protests and international concern.
Top image: The most recent seal found at the excavation site near the Western Wall, Jerusalem. (Image: Youtube Screenshot IAA)