Ancient papyrus scroll found with earliest Hebrew mention of Jerusalem

Artifact dated to 7th century released to public; Scroll was invoice from Na’arat to Jerusalem, refers to Jewish capital as “Yerushalima”

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Archeologists from the Israel Antiquity Authority (IAA) released the oldest known extra-biblical artifact to mention Jerusalem on Wednesday. The artifact, a fragment of parchment, dates back between 2,500-2,800 years to the First Temple Era from around the seventh century BC.

The scroll parchment, made from papyrus, is an ancient invoice from the Kingdom of Judah. The invoice is from a shipping of jars of wine from Na’arat to Jerusalem and refers to Jerusalem as “Yerushalima”.

It was found by the IAA four years ago during an operation carried out on antiquities robbers. The artifact is not only significant for its mention of Jerusalem, but also in that the document survived thousands of years in the Judean desert.

According to Dr. Klein, deputy of the IAA’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery, “The document represents extremely rare evidence of the existence of an organized administration in the Kingdom of Judah,” stated Klein. “It underscores the centrality of Jerusalem as the economic capital of the kingdom in the second half of the seventh century B.C. According to the Bible, the kings Menashe, Amon or Josiah ruled in Jerusalem at this time; however, it is not possible to know for certain which of the kings of Jerusalem was the recipient of the shipment of wine.”

The release comes amidst the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s second resolution passed denying Jewish ties to Jerusalem, specifically the Temple Mount. Following it’s second anti-Israel resolution passed Wednesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu referred to this artifact while addressing UNESCO.

He stated “This was a document or receipt that was sent over 2,700 years ago from Na’arah, near Jerusalem, and it says in ancient Hebrew, and this is the critical word, but you can see it in Hebrew ‘From the king’s maidservant, from Na’arat, jars of wine, to Jerusalem’. Here is a letter from the past to UNESCO. It is written Yerushalima. It explains – in Hebrew – our connection to Jerusalem and the centrality of Jerusalem. A servant of the king, certainly a King of Judah. It is from over 2,700 years ago – Jerusalem. In neither Arabic, Aramaic, Greek nor Latin – in Hebrew.”