Monday, January 2, 2012

2,000-Year-Old Clay Seal Depicting Temple Mount Ritual Discovered in Jerusalem

Archaeologists have found an ancient clay seal belonging to the first century C.E., during an archaeology excavation near Jerusalem's Western Wall, Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said in a statement in December.

The 2,000-year-old clay seal was found at a site known as the City of David and has written accounts of ritual practices in Temple Mount, a religious site in the Old City of Jerusalem.

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that such an object or anything similar to it was discovered in an archaeological excavation and it constitutes direct archaeological evidence of the activity on the Temple Mount and the workings of the Temple during the Second Temple period," IAA archaeologist Eli Shukron leading the archaeology excavation in the region said.

The seal is a tiny object of fired clay, almost the size of a button, about 2 centimeters in diameter. It is stamped with an Aramaic inscription, indicating its use as a marker to certify to the ritual purity of an object or food in the temple.

"The meaning of the inscription is "Pure for G-d". It seems that the inscribed object was used to mark products or objects that were brought to the Temple, and it was imperative they be ritually pure," the archaeologist added.

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