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December 25, 2016 1:22 am

In Time for Hanukkah, Israel Reveals Artifact Bearing Name of Hasmonean Leaders

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A fragment of a 2,100-year-old stone bowl discovered by Israel. Photo: Clara Amit/Israel Antiquities Authority.

A fragment of a 2,100-year-old stone bowl discovered in Israel. Photo: Clara Amit/Israel Antiquities Authority.

JNS.org – The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced Thursday the discovery of a 2,100-year-old stone bowl inscribed with a name common among members of the Hasmonean dynasty, the family at the heart of the Hanukkah story.

The bowl fragment, bearing the Hebrew name “Hyrcanus,” was unearthed in 2015, during an archaeological excavation at the City of David.

“We know of two personages from this period who had this name: John Hyrcanus, who was the grandson of Matityahu the Hasmonean and ruled Judea from 135–104 BCE, and John Hyrcanus II, who was the son of Alexander Jannaeus and Salome Alexandra. However, it is not possible to determine if the bowl belonged specifically to either of them,” said the IAA’s Dr. Doron Ben-Ami and Bar-Ilan University’s Professor Esther Eshel in a statement.

Researchers said the bowl is “one of the earliest examples of chalk vessels to appear in Jerusalem,” but that stone vessels were “extensively used by Jews because they were considered vessels that cannot become ritually unclean.”

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