2,700 year old Hebrew inscription uncovered in City of David

Thousands of fragments of pottery, candles, ceramics and figurines dating to the end of the First Temple discovered during excavations in Jerusalem.

August 18, 2013 09:47
1 minute read.
Ceramic bowl with a partially-preserved inscription.

Bowl archaology stuff 370. (photo credit: Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority )


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Thousands of fragments of pottery, candles, ceramics and figurines dating to the end of the First Temple were discovered during archeological excavations in the City of David in Jerusalem, a press release by the Antiquities Authority said on Sunday.

The City of David is located on a narrow spur south of the Temple Mount, surrounded on all sides by valleys, near the Gihon Spring and the Arab village of the Silwan.

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The findings were discovered during excavations conducted by the Antiquities Authority, the most important of which being a ceramic bowl with a partially-preserved Hebrew inscription, possibly containing the name of a Biblical figure.

Archeologists Dr. Joe Uziel and Nahshon Zanton said that the engraved letters date back to eighth century earthenware, and that the bowl can be traced to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem under King of Judah Zedekiah, around 586 BCE.

They believe the inscription may be an address, and possibly contained an offering, given by the person whose name was inscribed on the vessel, they said.

The writing on the bowl has been identified as ancient Hebrew script, although the first letter is missing and the bowl is only partially preserved.

The text fragment on the piece roughly transliterates without vowels into English characters as “ryhu bn bnh.”

This is similar to the name of Zechariah son of Benaiah, the father of the prophet Jahaziel, whose name appears in 2 Chronicles 20:14 when Jahaziel spoke prophecy to King Jehoshaphat before the king went off to war.

“While not complete, the inscription presents us with the name of a seventh century BCE figure, which resembles other names known to us from both the Biblical and archeological record… and provides us with a connection to the people living in Jerusalem at the end of the First Temple period,” the statement read.

Uziel and Zanton noted that the inscription “was engraved on the bowl prior to firing, indicating that the inscription originally adorned the rim of the bowl in its entirety, and was not written on a shard after the vessel was broken.”

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