Israeli Archaeologists Find 2,700-Year-Old ‘Governor of Jerusalem’ Seal Impression

January 2, 2018 Updated: January 2, 2018

Israeli archaeologists unveiled on Monday a 2,700-year-old clay seal impression which 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, Reuters reported.

According to site excavator Dr. Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, “This is the first time that such an impression was found in an authorized excavation. It supports the biblical rendering of the existence of a governor of the city in Jerusalem 2,700 years ago,” according to the Times of Israel.

Barkat said, “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.”

The impression, the size of a small coin, depicts two standing men, facing each other in a mirror-like manner and wearing striped garments reaching down to their knees. It was unearthed near the plaza of Judaism’s Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

“It supports the Biblical rendering of the existence of a governor of the city in Jerusalem 2,700 years ago,” noted Weksler-Bdolah.

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 Maaseiah in the post during the reign of Josiah.

The Antiquities Authority’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.

Over the past year, the seal was studied by Hebrew University Prof. Tallay Ornan and Tel Aviv University Prof. Benjamin Sass, who said there is, “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.”

The bottom section says: “Belonging to the governor [sar] of the city,” according to the Times of Israel.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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