Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Seal of “Saul” Found in Jerusalem

A seal of a person named Saul dating from the time of Hezekiah (c. 700 BC) has been discovered in the City of David in Jerusalem.  The Israel Antiquities Authority has released a high-resolution photograph and a press release:

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:

לשאל

]ריהו

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 שאול (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 Reich, “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. 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.

The press release continues here (temporary link).

HT: Joe Lauer

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