Rare 3,000-year-old King David era seal discovered by Temple Mount Sifting Project
10-year-old Russian volunteer unearths unprecedented find.
A rare 3,000-year-old seal, dating back to the periods of Kings David and Solomon in the tenth century BCE, was recently discovered by a 10-year-old Russian volunteer at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount Sifting Project.
Dr. Gabriel Barkay, co-founder and director of the project – which sifts through thousands of tons of illegally removed earth from the contested holy site in 1999 by the Wakf Muslim religious to build a mosque – said that the finding is unprecedented.
“The seal is the first of its kind to be found in Jerusalem,” said Barkay, a world-renowned archaeologist and Israel Prize laureate, who has led the project for over 10 years.
“The dating of the seal corresponds to the historical period of the Jebusites and the conquest of Jerusalem by King David, as well as the construction of the Temple and the royal official compound by his son, King Solomon.”
“What makes this discovery particularly significant,” Barkay continued, “is that it originated from upon the Temple Mount itself.”
The seal – discovered by Matvei Tcepliaev, a Russian 10-year-old boy who volunteered at the Temple Mount Sifting Project – was only recently deciphered by archaeologists, he said. According to Barkay, since the project’s inception in 2004, more than 170,000 volunteers from Israel and around the world have taken part in the sifting.
The historical credibility of the Biblical text regarding Jerusalem during the tenth century BCE has been hotly debated by archaeologists since the 1990s. However, recent finds from other excavations – including the Ophel (south of the Temple Mount,) the City of David, and the Temple Mount Sifting Project – indicate that the descriptions found within the Biblical text relating to Jerusalem may indeed be authentic.
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