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May 2, 2012 9:30 am

2,700 Year Old Hebrew Seal Found Near Temple Mount

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A view of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Photo: wiki commons.

The Israel Antiquities Authority recently announced that a Hebrew seal from the late First Temple period had been discovered on the floor of the remains of an ancient building next to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The remains were discovered below the base of an ancient drainage channel, currently being excavated under Robinson’s Arch in the Jerusalem Archaeological Garden, adjacent to the Western Wall. The building is the closest structure to the First Temple found to date by archaeologists.

The seal is made of semi-precious stone and is engraved with the name of its owner, “Lematanyahu Ben Ho…” (“Belonging to Matanyahu Ben Ho…”). The owner’s full name and the rest of the inscription have eroded. Such seals, set in signet rings, were used during the First Temple period to sign letters and identify their owners, similar to the stamps that officials use today.

“The name Matanyahu, like the name Netanyahu, means giving to God,” said Eli Shukron, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. “These names are mentioned several times in the Bible. They are typical of the names in the Kingdom of Judah in the latter part of the First Temple period, from the end of the eighth century B.C.E. until the destruction of the Temple in 586 B.C.E.”

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