The Temple Institute: City of David Dig Reveals Information on Ancient Postal System

 

 


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City of David Dig Reveals Information on Ancient Postal System

reprinted from Arutz 7
23 Adar 5768, 29 February 08 02:18

by Ezra HaLevi

(IsraelNN.com) Artifacts from City of David excavations in Jerusalem reveal an interesting tidbit of information about the ancient postal system in Israel.

In an archaeological excavation being carried out at the "Spring House," near the Gihon Spring in the City of David - in the valley east of JerusalemÕs Old City, soil was excavated which contained pottery shards that date to the Iron Age 2 (eighth century BCE).

"Whereas during the ninth century BCE, letters and goods were dispatched on behalf of their senders without names, by the eighth century BCE the clerks and merchants had already begun to add their names to the seals," concluded the Antiquities Authority.

Wet sifting and sorting through the soil revealed three fragments of clay stamps used to seal letters or goods in ancient times. Two more stone seals were recently found as well. All of the objects bear Hebrew names and all date to the eighth century BCE.

Among them is a seal that was discovered intact, bearing the Hebrew name "Rephaihu (ben) Shalem", who lived in the City of David in Jerusalem during this period. The seals were primarily used by public officials, according to Professor Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa and Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority, who oversee the dig.

"In contrast with the large cluster of bullae (seals) that was found two years ago, in which all of its items contain graphic symbols (such as a boat or different animals - fish, lizards and birds) but are of an earlier date (end of the ninth-beginning of the eighth century BCE), the new items indicate that during the eighth century BCE the practice had changed and the clerks who used the seals began to add their own names to them."

The Israel Antiquities Authority, together with the Nature and Parks Authority and the Elad Association, discovered the seals during ongoing intensive excavations being carried out on the eastern side of the Old City of Jerusalem.

1st Temple Seal Found in City of David

reprinted from The Jerusalem Post
Feb. 28, 2008

by Etgar Lefkovits

An ancient seal bearing an archaic Hebrew inscription dating back to the 8th century BCE has been uncovered in an archeological excavation in Jerusalem's City of David, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Thursday.

The find reveals that by 2,700 years ago, clerks and merchants had already begun to add their names to the seals instead of the symbols that were used in earlier centuries.

The state-run archeological body said the seal, which was discovered near the Gihon Spring in the City of David outside the walls of the Old City, bears the Hebrew name Rephaihu (ben) Shalem, a public official who lived in the Jerusalem neighborhood during this period.

The excavation, which is being carried out by Haifa University Professor Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority, also uncovered pottery shards that date back to the Iron Age 2 (8th century BCE), which they used to date the seal, as well as fragments of three bullae, or pieces of clay that were used to seal letters or goods.

The discovery revealed an interesting development in the ancient world: whereas during the 9th century BCE letters and goods were dispatched on behalf of their senders without names, by the 8th century BCE the clerks and merchants had already begun to add their names to the seals, the archeologists said.

"In contrast with the large cluster of bullae that was found two years ago, in which all of its items contain graphic symbols [such as a boat or different animals - fish, lizards and birds] but are of an earlier date [end of the 9th-beginning of the 8th century BCE], the new items indicate that during the 8th century BCE the practice had changed and the clerks who used the seals began to add their names to them," Reich said.

The excavation, which is being conducted together with the Nature and Parks Authority and the support of the City of David Foundation, is one of several digs taking place in the City of David.

 

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