Jerusalem Mayor, Nir Barkat, holds the 2,700 Year-Old-Seal Impression [Photo Credit: Yoli Schwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority]

On Monday, Israeli archaeologists conducting excavations at the Western Wall plaza announced the discovery of a 2,700-year-old clay seal impression which once belonged to a biblical governor of Jerusalem. The archaeologists ascertained the nature of the seal, since inscribed on the seal was ancient Hebrew script with the following words printed on it: “Belonging to the [sar] governor of the city.” The position of governor was considered to be the most prominent local position held in the Jerusalem government of 2,700 years ago, reported the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to Dr. Weksler-Bdolah, excavator of the site located in the northwestern part of the Western Wall Plaza, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), “the Bible mentions two governors of Jerusalem, and this finding thus reveals that such a position was actually held by someone in the city some 2,700 years ago.”​

Dr. Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah believes that “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.”

Prof. Tallay Ornan of Hebrew University and Prof. Benjamin Sass of Tel Aviv University studied the seal and describe it thus: “above a double line are two standing men, facing each other in a mirror-like manner. Their heads are depicted as large dots, lacking any details. The hands facing outward are dropped down, and the hands facing inward are raised. Each of the figures is wearing a striped, knee-length garment. In the register beneath the double line is an inscription in ancient Hebrew: L’sareer, with no spacing. It denotes the words L’sar Ear, i.e., “belonging to the governor of the city.” Prof. Ornan and Prof. Sass add, that “the title ‘governor of the city’ is known from the Bible and from extra-biblical documents, referring to an official appointed by the king. Governors of Jerusalem are mentioned twice in the Bible: in 2 Kings, Joshua is the governor of the city in the days of Hezekiah, and in 2 Chronicles, Maaseiah is the governor of the city in the days of Josiah.

The seal impression was presented to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Upon being presented the rare gift, Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat related that “it is very overwhelming to receive greetings from First Temple-period Jerusalem. This shows that already 2,700 years ago, Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, was a strong and central city. Jerusalem is one of the most ancient capitals of the world, continually populated by the Jewish people for more than 3,000 years. Today we have the privilege to encounter another one of the long chain of persons and leaders that built and developed the city. We are grateful to be living in a city with such a magnificent past, and are obligated to ensure its strength for generations to come, as we daily do.”

Watch: (Belonging) To the Governor of the City

"[Belonging] To the Governor of the City": A Unique Stamped piece of clay from the First Temple Period, Inscribed in Ancient Hebrew Script, was Unearthed in the Israel Antiquities Authority Excavations in the Western Wall Plaza******A unique and significant discovery was made during archaeological works in the Western Wall Plaza, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and in association with the Western Wall Heritage Foundation: A stamped piece of clay from the First Temple period, which belonged to the “governor of the city” of Jerusalem – the most prominent local position to be held in Jerusalem of 2700 years ago.This extraordinary find is a lump of clay, stamped and pre-fired. It measures 13 X 15 mm and is 2–3 mm thick. The upper part of the sealing depicts two figures facing each other, and the lower part holds an inscription in ancient Hebrew script. The sealing was presented to the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, during his visit to Davidson's Center, near the Western Wall, last week. After the completion of the scientific research, the sealing will be on temporary exhibit in the mayor's office.The sealing, its use unknown, was retrieved by Shimon Cohen while wet-sieving the soil from a late First Temple-period building (seventh-sixth centuries BCE). Dr. Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, excavator of the site located in the northwestern part of the western Wall Plaza, on behalf of the IAA, believes that "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." Dr. Weksler-Bdolah further suggests that "it is likely that one of the buildings in our excavation was the destination of this transport sent by the city governor. The finding of the sealing 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 m west of the Temple Mount, was inhabited by highly ranked officials during the First Temple period." According to Dr. Weksler-Bdolah "this is the first time that such a sealing is found in an authorized excavation. It supports the biblical rendering of the existence of a governor of the city in Jerusalem 2700 years ago."Prof. Tallay Ornan of the Hebrew University, and Prof. Benjamin Sass of Tel Aviv University, studied the sealing and describe it thus: "above a double line are two standing men, facing each other in a mirror-like manner. Their heads are depicted as large dots, lacking any details. The hands facing outward are dropped down, and the hands facing inward are raised Each of the figures is wearing a striped, knee-length garment. In the register beneath the double line is an inscription in ancient Hebrew: לשרער, with no spacing between the words and no definite article. It denotes לשר העיר, i.e., “belonging to the governor of the city." Prof. Ornan and Prof. Sass add, that "the title 'governor of the city' is known from the Bible and from extra-biblical documents, referring to an official appointed by the king. Governors of Jerusalem are mentioned twice in the Bible: in 2 Kings, Joshua is the governor of the city in the days of Hezekiah, and in 2 Chronicles, Maaseiah is the governor of the city in the days of Josiah.Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem, When the find was presented to him related that "it is very overwhelming to receive greetings from First Temple-period Jerusalem. This shows that already 2700 years ago, Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, was a strong and central city. Jerusalem is one of the most ancient capitals of the world, continually populated by the Jewish people for more than 3000 years. Today we have the privilege to encounter another one of the long chain of persons and leaders that built and developed the city. We are grateful to be living in a city with such a magnificent past, and are obligated to ensure its strength for generations to come, as we daily do."According to Dr. Yuval Baruch, archaeologist of the Jerusalem District in the IAA: “the outstanding significance of the finds brought upon the decision to conserve the First Temple-period building exposed in the Western Wall plaza excavations and open it to visitors".Conservation work at the site, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, was carried out by Yossi Vaknin and Haim Makuriya.Pls Like and Share!*********Clip: Yaniv Berman, Photo: Clara Amit

Posted by ‎רשות העתיקות – לגעת בעבר‎ on Monday, January 1, 2018