Two rare and revealing archeological discoveries made in Israel

2,500 year old seal of women from First Temple Period and second of its kind coin from 107 BC of Emperor Trajan discovered in Israel

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Israel’s Antiquities Authority found two 2,500 year-old seals from the First Temple Period outside of Old City Jerusalem Monday. The discovery is significant as one of the seals bears the name of a woman, a rare find and “hardly a commonplace occurrence”.

The seal of the woman, made from precious stones, belonged to a “Elihana bat Gael” indicating the woman was wealthy and powerful during that period. According to the Authority, the “owner of the seal was exceptional compared to other women of the First Temple period. She had legal status, which allowed her to conduct business and possess property… Finding seals that bear names from the time of the First Temple is hardly a commonplace occurrence, and finding a seal that belonged to a woman is an even rarer phenomenon. Personal seals such as these were used for signing documents and were often inlaid as part of a ring. In antiquity they designated the identity, genealogy and status of the owner of the seal”.

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Dr. Haggai Misgav of the Hebrew University in Jerusale stated that “Most of the women’s seal we have bear the name of the father rather than that of the husband. This datum is also likely to indicate the relatively elevated status of these women, which depended on their original family, and not on their husband’s family. It is possible that some of the women maintained their economic independence after their marriage; but we do not have sufficient information about the law in Judah during this period”.

And during a hike in eastern Galilee, a young Israeli found a rare coin from 107 BC made by Emperor Trajan. Dr. Danny Syon from the Israel Antiquities Authority stated on the discovery “This coin, minted in Rome in 107 BCE [BC], is rare on a global level. On the reverse we have the symbols of the Roman legions next to the name of the ruler Trajan, and on the obverse – instead of an image of the Emperor Trajan, as was usually the case, there is the portrait of the emperor “Augustus Deified”. This coin is part of a series of coins minted by Trajan as a tribute to the emperors that preceded him”.

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There is only one other coin of this kind to have ever been found and can be found at the British Museum.