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Archaeological Discoveries: Hebrew Seal from First Temple Found in Jerusalem

(May 2012)

A small stone seal believe to be at least 2,600 years old and bearing a Hebrew name has been found near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Tuesday. The seal measures two centimetres in diameter and is inlaid in a ring.

According to the ancient Hebrew inscription, the seal belonged to a man named Matanyahu, meaning ”gift of God.” A similar seal bearing the name "Netanyahu Son of Yaush" in ancient Hebrew script was discovered at the site in March 2008.

No more than two dozen such seals have been found since excavations began in Jerusalem in the 1800s, according to Antiquities Authority archaeologist Eli Shukron.

The seal was found in during an archaeological excavation under Robinson's Arch, a site adjacent to the Temple Mount, that dates to what biblical archaeologists think of as the time of the First Temple – between the end of the 8th century BCE and 586 BCE.

Sources: Times of Israel; New York Daily News; Photo Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority