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Rare First Temple-era seal found in City of David

Archaeologists discover First Temple-era seals, one with a woman’s name. Rare find that sheds significant light on owner’s life.


Archaeologists have found two ancient seals with Hebrew names, dating back to the time of the First Temple, in Jerusalem’s City of David. The objects belonged to a woman and a man, Elihana bat Gael and Sa’aryahu ben Shabenyahu.

“Finding seals that bear names from the time of the First Temple is hardly a commonplace occurrence, and finding a seal that belonged to a woman is an even rarer phenomenon,” said a researcher with the project.

The artifacts were discovered in a prominent building that is believed to have served as an administrative center.

The Israel Antiquities Authority, along with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the City of David Foundation, have been digging at the former Givati parking lot for the past nine years.

Dr. Doron Ben-Ami, Yana Tchekhanovets and Salome Cohen, the archaeologists in charge of the site, explain that “Personal seals, such as those of Elihana and Sa‘aryahu, were used for signing documents, and were frequently inlaid as part of a ring that was worn by the owner. In antiquity they designated the identity, genealogy and status of the owner of the seal.”

Dr. Hagai Misgav further noted the significance of Elihana bat Gael’s seal: “Seals that belonged to women represent just a very small proportion of all the seals that have been discovered


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