Israeli archaeologists made a rare discovery in the Western Wall Plaza, unearthing a 2,700-year-old clay seal impression that experts say belonged to a biblical governor of Jerusalem.
The artifact, as first reported by Reuters, is inscribed in an ancient Hebrew script “belonging to the governor of the city” and was likely attached to a shipment or sent as a souvenir on behalf of the governor, the most prominent local position held in Jerusalem at the time, the Israel Antiquities Authority said.
The impression, the size of a small coin, depicts two standing men, facing each other in a mirror-like manner and wearing striped garments reaching down to their knees. It was unearthed near the plaza of Judaism’s Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, where excavations have been underway since 2005.
“It supports the biblical rendering of the existence of a governor of the city in Jerusalem 2,700 years ago,” lead excavator Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah said. “This is the first time that such a sealing is found in an authorized excavation.”
She added: “This docket adds to the find of seven seals that we’ve found here carry the names of Netanyahu son of Yaush, Hagav, Yeda-ayahy Usha, and more.”
At the presentation of the artifact, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said, “It is very overwhelming to receive greetings from First Temple-period Jerusalem.”
Governors of Jerusalem, appointed by the king, are mentioned twice in the Bible, in 2 Kings, which refers to Joshua holding the position, and in 2 Chronicles, which mentions Masseiah in the post during the reign of Josiah.
At the presentation of the artifact, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said, “It is very overwhelming to receive greetings from First Temple-period Jerusalem. This shows that already 2,700 years ago, Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, was a strong and central city.”
The Antiquities Authority’s announcement comes several weeks after President Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a decision that inflamed Palestinian protests and international concern.