Historic discovery released to public of Roman artifact with Jerusalem’s full name; Artifact is likely 2,100 years old from Second Temple Period; Archeologist: This is the only stone inscription of the Second Temple period known where the full spelling appears.
A stone column with the earliest known inscription of “Jerusalem” was recently discovered in Israel’s capital.
The discovery was made by the Israel Antiquities Authority and Jerusalem Museum and confirmed to the public on Tuesday morning. The column was part of a Roman structure and reads in Aramaic “Hananiah son of Dodalos of Jerusalem”. The 2,100 year-old artifact is from the Second Temple Period, likely from the period of Herod the Great.
Archeologists researching the artifact, Dr. Yuval Baruch and Prof. Ronny Reich, explained the significance of the discovery, “This is the only stone inscription of the Second Temple period known where the full spelling appears.” Jerusalem’s name was always abbreviated in prior discoveries.
They explained “The unusual spelling is also attested to in the Bible, where Jerusalem appears 660 times, with only 5 mentions – of a relatively late date – having the full spelling (Jeremiah 26:18, Esther 2:6, 2 Chronicles 25:1, 2 Chronicles 32: 9, and 2 Chronicles 25:1).”
There have been numerous discoveries of Jerusalem’s Jewish history amidst efforts by the United Nations to erase Jewish history from Israel in the past year.
In March of this year, 2,000 year-old coins from the period of the Great Revolt were discovered in a cave near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The excavation was of the Ophel cave located under the Temple Mount’s southern wall. Coins from the first year of the revolt read “For the freedom of Zion,” and coins from the final year of the revolt read “For the redemption/to save Zion,” depicting the timeline of events of the Roman’s siege of Jerusalem and destruction of its Temple.
The coins depict a goblet used in the Second Temple, as well as the four Biblical species of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, the citron, palm, myrtle and willow.
Dr. Eilat Mazar of the excavation explained, “The discovery of dozens of coins in the center of ancient Jerusalem, bearing the inscription ‘to freedom/to save Zion,’ is of special importance during this period, when the Jewish state is preparing to celebrate Passover and the Freedom of the Jewish people 2,000 years later.”
Mazar and her team discovered a seal impression that may have belonged to the prophet Isaiah in February 2018. During one of her first excavations of Ophel in 1994, her team discovered a seal that was deciphered in 2015. The seal beared the name of King Hezekiah and read “Belonging to Hezekiah Ahaz King of Judah”. The discovery was most significant, Mazar explained, as it was “the first time that a seal impression of an Israelite or Judean king has ever come to light in a scientific archaeological excavation.”