Archaeologists in Israel have made some exciting discoveries in a dig site in Jerusalem Walls National Park, located near Jerusalem’s Old City. The findings include pottery, charred wood, grape seeds, fish scales and bones, and artifacts preserved in a way that indicates they were buried during the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem.
The Israel Antiquities Authority, the driving force behind the excavations, say the findings “depict the affluence and character of Jerusalem, capital of the Judean Kingdom, and are mesmerizing proof of the city’s demise at the hands of the Babylonians.”
The area being excavated was once dwelling places 2,500 years ago. The area was also covered by a landslide at one point.
Perhaps the most exciting thing unearthed in the excavation so far has been dozens of jugs that were used to store grain and liquids and include a rosette stamp seal on them. A rosette is a six-petal rose and, according to Ortal Chalaf and Dr. Joe Uziel, directors of the excavation, is indicative of the First Temple Period’s administration system. The rosette seal would have been in use during the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem, which scholars believe occurred around 587 BCE.
Chalaf and Uziel say the jugs discovered would have been used for the “controlling, overseeing, collecting, marketing and storing crop yields.”
Another object of interest to emerge from the excavation is a small ivory figurine of a woman with an Egyptian style haircut or wig. The high quality of the carving points to the affluence of the city at that time.
The location of the findings are also significant, as they lie outside the city’s walls and beyond the perimeter of what was previously thought to encapsulate First Temple-era Jerusalem.
In the following video, you can see the excavation work and hear from Dr. Uziel as he explains the significance of the discovery.