Seal was discovered in Jerusalem’s Old City during excavation of First Temple era building near Western Wall Plaza.
• Israel Antiquities Authority says artifact was likely attached to shipment or sent as souvenir on behalf of the governor.
By Yori Yalon, Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff
Israeli archaeologists revealed a 2,700-year-old clay seal impression that they said belonged to a biblical governor of Jerusalem.
The artifact, inscribed in an ancient Hebrew script as “belonging to the governor of the city,” was likely attached to a shipment or sent as a souvenir on behalf of the governor, the most prominent local position held in Jerusalem at the time, the Israel Antiquities Authority said.
The impression, the size of a small coin, depicts two standing men facing each other and wearing striped garments reaching down to their knees. It was discovered by excavation director Shimon Cohen during a wet filtration of soil from a building from the end of the First Temple era (the 11th to 5th centuries BCE) near the Western Wall Plaza in the Old City of Jerusalem. The clay seal impression will go on display at the office of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat next week.
According to an IAA statement quoting excavator Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, the seal “supports the biblical rendering of the existence of a governor of the city in Jerusalem 2,700 years ago.”
Findings in the vicinity of the Western Wall Plaza “reinforce the impression that in the very same place, on the slopes of the western hill of ancient Jerusalem and about 100 meters west of the Temple Mount, there was a residential area for those who held senior positions on the outskirts of the First Temple,” according to the statement.
Governors of Jerusalem, appointed by the king, are mentioned twice in the Bible, in 2 Kings, which refers to Joshua holding the position, and in 2 Chronicles, which mentions Masseiah in the post during the reign of Josiah.
The IAA’s announcement came several weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a decision that overturned a decades-old policy on the status of the city and stirred Palestinian protests and international concern.
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