Sunday, August 18, 2013

7th Century BC Inscription Found in City of David

Archaeologists working in the City of David have discovered an inscription from the 7th century that may have had the name of Zechariah the son of Benaiah (2 Chr 20:14). The inscription was found in a layer of thousands of pottery sherds, oil lamps, and figurines near the Gihon Spring.

From the IAA press release:

While not complete, the inscription presents us with the name of a seventh century BCE figure, which resembles other names known to us from both the Biblical and archaeological record (see examples below) and providing us with a connection to the people living in Jerusalem at the end of the First Temple period. This fascinating find will be presented at Megalim's Annual Archaeological Conference which will take place on Thursday, August 29th in the City of David.

The most similar name to our inscription is Zechariah the son of Benaiah, the father of the Prophet Jahaziel. The name Zechariah the son of Benaiah appears in 2 Chronicles 20:14 where it states that Jahaziel, son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, prophesized before the Biblical King Jehoshaphat before the nation went off to war against the ancient kingdoms of Ammon and Moab.

Israel Antiquity Authority archaeologists Dr. Joe Uziel and Nahshon Zanton, who discovered the bowl while excavating remains associated with the First Temple period destruction, explained that the letters inscribed on the shard likely date to the 8-7th centuries BCE, placing the production of the bowl sometime between the reign of Hezekiah and the destruction of Jerusalem under King Zedekiah. The archaeologists also explained that the inscription was engraved on the bowl prior to firing, indicating that the inscription originally adorned the rim of the bowl in its entirety, and was not written on a shard after the vessel was broken.

The press release also includes an analysis of the inscription. Three high-resolution images are available here. The story is reported by the Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, and others.

Details about the City of David 14th Annual Archaeological Conference are here.

1

Pottery sherd with inscription “ryhu bn bnh”

2

Figurine heads, oil lamps, and seal impressions from the debris in which the inscription was found. Photos by Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority.

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4 Comments:

  • LMLK seal types M2U & an extremely rare Z2T with Circles. My opinion of the incised bowl is that the inscription was made after firing, not before as stated in the article. I simply don't see the type of disturbance in the adjacent surface I would expect, & the type I do see seems to indicate post-fired scratches; but then again, this could be the result of cleaning by the archeologists (reminiscent of the cleaning performed on the James ossuary). But again, my observations are not the work of competent scholarship...

    By Blogger G.M. Grena, at Sun Aug 18, 08:46:00 PM  

  • Dear Dr. Bolen, Hi!!! I do not know who wrote this at the IAA: Pottery sherd with inscription “ryhu bn bhu” but it should read "ryhu bn bnh." Thank you for all of your time, hard work, and efforts that you and your guest contributors do. You all do a wonderful job!!!!! With Much Gratitude and Admiration, Michael Welch, Deltona, Florida

    By Blogger Michael Welch, at Mon Aug 19, 02:37:00 PM  

  • Thanks, Michael, for your kind words and the correction. The error was mine (since fixed).

    By Blogger Todd Bolen, at Mon Aug 19, 06:20:00 PM  

  • Check out a similar article by Simcha Jacobovici on the Times of Israel. http://www.timesofisrael.com/2700-year-old-hebrew-inscription-found-in-jerusalem/

    By Blogger Barr Solnik, at Sun Aug 25, 07:27:00 AM  

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