A recently found 2,700-year-old artifact — bearing the inscription “belonging to the governor of the city” found in Jerusalem — has been presented to the city’s current mayor.
The object, a half-inch wide and one-10th of an inch thick, was discovered during excavation in the Western Wall plaza and dated to the First Temple period of the 6-7 Centuries B.C.
“This is the first time that such an impression was found in an authorized excavation,” excavator Dr. Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah said. “It supports the biblical rendering of the existence of a governor of the city in Jerusalem 2,700 years ago.”
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat received the object during a visit to Davidson’s Center, near the Western Wall, last week and plans to put it on display.
“It is very overwhelming to receive greetings from First Temple-period Jerusalem,” Barkat said. “This shows that already 2,700 years ago, Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, was a strong and central city.”
Israel Antiquity Authority conservationists scratched at the surface of the building’s walls to inject preservation materials.
“This extraordinary find is a lump of clay, stamped and pre-fired,” Weksler-Bdolah said Monday.
She said two figures face each other wearing striped garments on the upper portion of the impression. Between them is what could be a moon.
Weksler-Bdolah said the governor centuries ago most likely functioned like today’s mayor.
“The Bible mentions two governors of Jerusalem, and this finding thus reveals that such a position was actually held by someone in the city some 2,700 years ago,” Weksler-Bdolah said.
Weksler-Bdolah said the building probably was an administration center.
“The people who gave orders may have had to sign documents here,” she said. “It may also have been a place for the rich, the more important people, because the location is really important.”
She also said the item served as a tiny souvenir sent on behalf of the governor of the city.
“Jerusalem is one of the most ancient capitals of the world, continually populated by the Jewish people for more than 3,000 years,” Barkat said. “Today we have the privilege to encounter another one of the long chain of persons and leaders that built and developed the city. We are grateful to be living in a city with such a magnificent past, and are obligated to ensure its strength for generations to come, as we daily do.”
By Allen Cone