18 Aug 2008
Head archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar: "It is not very often that such a discovery happens in which real figures of the past shake off the dust of history and so vividly revive the stories of the Bible."
A 2,600 year old clay seal impression, or bulla, bearing the name Gedaliah ben Pashur has recently been uncovered completely intact during archeological excavations in Jerusalem's ancient City of David, located just below the walls of the Old City near the Dung Gate.
The name appears in the Book of Jeremiah (38:1) together with that of Yehuchal ben Shelemayahu, whose name was found on an identical clay bulla in the same area in 2005. The two men were ministers in the court of King Zedekiah, the last king to rule in Jerusalem before the destruction of the First Temple.
According to Dr. Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University who is leading the dig, this is the first time in the annals of Israeli archeology that two clay bullae with two Biblical names that appear in the same verse in the Bible have been unearthed in the same location.
"It is not very often that such a discovery happens in which real figures of the past shake off the dust of history and so vividly revive the stories of the Bible," Mazar noted.
The first bulla was uncovered inside an impressive stone structure, which Mazar believes to be the Palace of David, while the second bulla was found at the foot of the external wall of the same structure, under a tower that was built in the days of Nehemiah.
Both bullae, clearly preserved, measuring 1 cm. in diameter each and lettered in ancient Hebrew, were found among the debris of the destruction of the First Temple period (8th to 6th centuries BCE).
Dr. Eilat Mazar recently completed the third phase of her excavation of what she believes to be King David's palace at the City of David site.
More finds are expected as archeologists continue to sift through the rubble from the dig, which was sponsored by the Ir David (City of David) Foundation together with the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Hebrew University, and the Shalem Center.
The City of David is the original hilltop upon which King David dedicated ancient Jerusalem as his capital 3,000 years ago.
Deep underground, the City of David is revealing some of the most exciting archeological finds of the ancient world, while above ground, the site is a vibrant center of activity and popular tourist attraction for families, complete with visitor's center, 3D exhibition and guided tours through the excavations that include Warren's Shaft, ancient water systems such as Hezekiah's Tunnel and the Second Temple Shiloah pool.
During the busy summer and festival periods, the site offers added family-friendly attractions, festivals, concerts, guided tours etc.