Thursday, January 17, 2008

First Temple seal found in Jerusalem

A stone seal bearing the name of one of the families who acted as servants in the First Temple and then returned to Jerusalem after being exiled to Babylonia has been uncovered in an archeological excavation in Jerusalem's City of David, a prominent Israeli archeologist said Wednesday.

The 2,500-year-old black stone seal, which has the name "Temech" engraved on it, was found earlier this week amid stratified debris in the excavation under way just outside the Old City walls near the Dung Gate, said archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, who is leading the dig.

According to the Book of Nehemiah, the Temech family were servants of the First Temple and were sent into exile to Babylon following its destruction by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.

The family was among those who later returned to Jerusalem, the Bible recounts.

The Temple Institute: First Temple Seal Discovered in Arab Debris Archaeologists have revealed they have found a Jewish seal from the period of the First Temple, according to Professor Gabi Barkaie. The seal was discovered in debris which was taken from the Temple Mount six years ago and is the first time a Jewish artifact from the First Temple has been found, he added.

The seal, less than one centimeter long and made from burnt mud, bears ancient Hebrew writing and probably was used for official documents and letters, Prof. Barkie said. It is more than 2500 years old and provides a direct link with the era of King David.

Arab Moslems have authority over the Temple Mount site and have been systematically removing debris from the Temple Mount site for years despite protests from archaeologists who fear they will lose any opportunity to find remnants of the First Temple. Arabs also have waged a publicity campaign claiming that the Jewish Temples never existed.

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Mount, bears the name “Temech,” listed in the biblical book of The seal, found in excavations taking place in the City of David just south of the Temple...

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