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First Temple period bone seal with engraved name found in Jerusalem excavations

Jerusalem, May 20 (ANI): Archaeologists have discovered a bone seal, engraved with the name ‘Shaul’, from the time of the First Temple, in excavations in the walls around Jerusalem National Park, in the City of David, Israel.

According to a statement by Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the seal, which is made of bone, was found broken and is missing a piece from its upper right side.

Two parallel lines divide the surface of the seal into two registers in which Hebrew letters are engraved.

A period followed by a floral image or a tiny fruit appear at the end of the bottom name.

The name of the seal’s owner was completely preserved and it is written in the shortened form of the name ‘Shaul’.

The name is known from both the Bible (Genesis 36:37; 1 Samuel 9:2; 1 Chronicles 4:24 and 6:9) and from other Hebrew seals.

According to Professor Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa, “This seal joins another Hebrew seal that was previously found and three Hebrew bullae (pieces of clay stamped with seal impressions) that were discovered nearby. These five items have great chronological importance regarding the study of the development of the use of seals.”

“While the numerous bullae that were discovered in the adjacent rock-hewn pool were found together with pottery sherds from the end of the ninth and beginning of the eighth centuries BCE, they do not bear any Semitic letters,” he said.

“On the other hand, the five Hebrew epigraphic artifacts were recovered from the soil that was excavated outside the pool, which contained pottery sherds that date to the last part of the eighth century,” he added.

It seems that the development in the design of the seals occurred in Judah during the course of the eighth century BCE.

“At the same time as they engraved figures on the seal, at some point, they also started to engrave them with the names of the seals’ owners. This was apparently when they started to identify the owner of the seal by his name rather than by some sort of graphic representation,” said Professor Reich. (ANI)

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