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Ancient Seals from First Temple Period are Discovered in Jerusalem

Israel: September 7, 2017. In an excavation at Jerusalem’s City of David, archaeologists found dozens of seals with “biblical-type” names on them.

The seals may mean the city housed thousands of refugees, according to The Christian Post.

The names, written in ancient Hebrew, “support the theory that Israelites fleeing the Assyrians found shelter, and even high office, in the southern kingdom of Judah," archaeologists said.

"Earlier seals, from seals from the 9th century B.C.E. and possibly the first part of the 8th century B.C.E., were pictographic. Many like these were found from the later stages of the Iron Age," said Joe Uziel, director of the excavation.

"But from somewhere in the late 8th century B.C.E., until 586 B.C.E., seals started bearing names of the officials sealing the letters."

Uziel says that because many of the officials’ names on the seals resembled Judean culture, the discovery shows that many tribes fled the Assyrian destruction of Israel in 732 B.C.E. and escaped south to Judah and then headed to Jerusalem.

Some of those refugees became senior officials in Jerusalem’s administration, as shown on the seals.

One of the names found on the seals was king Ahab, whose wife Jezebel influenced him in idol worship.

Previously, other seals have been found in Jerusalem’s City of David.

In 2016, archaeologists found a rare seal that belonged to a woman named Elihana bat Gael.

"Finding seals that bear names from the time of the First Temple is hardly a commonplace occurrence, and finding a seal that belonged to a woman is an even rarer phenomenon," the excavators behind the Giv-ati project said of the discovery.