Ancient Seal Found in Yerushalayim Linked to Second Bais Hamikdosh


seal-yerushalayim-bais-hamikdoshA rare clay seal found under Yerushalayim’s Old City appears to be linked to the avodah at the Second Bais Hamikdosh 2,000 years ago, Israeli archaeologists said Sunday.

The coin-sized seal found near the Kosel bears two Aramaic words meaning “pure for God.”

Archaeologist Ronny Reich of Haifa University said it dates from between the 1st century B.C. to 70 A.D. – the year Roman forces put down the Jewish revolt and destroyed the second Bais Hamikdosh.

The find marks the first discovery of a written seal from that period of Yerushalayim’s history, and appeared to be a unique physical artifact from the Bais Hamikdosh, said Reich, co-director of the excavation.

Very few artifacts linked to the Botei Mikdosh have been discovered so far.

Archaeologists say the seal was likely used by kohanim approving an object for use for the avodah – oil, perhaps, or an animal intended for a korban.

The find, Reich said, is “the first time an indication was brought by archaeology about activities in the Har Habayis — the activities of buying and offering and giving to the Bet Hamikdash itself.”

The site where the seal was found is on the route of a main street that ran through ancient Yerushalayim just outside the Bais Hamikdosh.

Aren Maeir of Bar-Ilan University, a biblical archaeologist not connected to the dig, said the seal was special because it “was found right next to the [Bais Hamikdosh] and is similar to what we see described in the Mishnayos.”

“It’s nice when we can connect an activity recorded in ancient sources with archaeological finds,” he said.

The seal was found in an excavation run by archaeologists from the government’s Israel Antiquities Authority. The dig is under the auspices of a broader dig nearby at Ihr David, where archaeologists are investigating the oldest part of Yerushalayim.

{Yair Israel}


  1. It’s nice that your article mentions the connection between the artifact and the Bais Hamikdosh, as does this blog. Unfortunately, some other news sites reported this using the JPost as the source, which does not make this important connection.