Last winter, during an excavation taking place close to the Jerusalem International Convention Center (Binyanei Ha’Uma), a unique stone inscription, dating back to the Second Temple Period around the time of Herod the Great (1 CE), was discovered. The inscription, written in Hebrew letters, referenced Jerusalem in the same spelling we use today.
Excavations have been taking place at this site for many years, mostly exposing extensive portions of a potter’s quarter that functioned for over 300 years; between the Hashmonaim Period and the Late Roman era. During these excavations, the foundations of a Roman structure, supported by columns, was exposed. The inscription was discovered on one of the columns; reused for the foundation of this Roman structure. The inscription reads:
Hananiah son of
On Tuesday, October 9th 2018, the stone was presented during a joint press conference between the IAA (Israel Antiquities Authority) and the Israel Museum.
According Dr. Yuval Baruch, Jerusalem Regional Archaeologist of the IAA and Prof. Ronny Reich of Haifa University, stated: “First and Second Temple period inscriptions mentioning Jerusalem are quite rare. But even more unique is the complete spelling of the name as we know it today.” “This is the only stone inscription of the Second Temple period known where the full spelling appears. This spelling is only known in one other instance, on a coin of the Great Revolt against the Romans (66-70 CE). The unusual spelling is also attested to in the Bible, where Jerusalem appears 660 times, with only 5 mentions – of a relatively late date – having the full spelling (Jeremiah 26:18, Esther 2:6, 2 Chronicles 25:1, 2 Chronicles 32: 9, and 2 Chronicles 25: 1).”
According to Dudy Mevorach, Chief Curator of Archaeology at the Israel Museum, “the archaeological context of the inscription does not allow us to determine where it was originally displayed, or who Hananiah son of Dodalos was. But it is likely that he was an artist-potter, the son of an artist-potter, who adopted a name from the Greek mythological realm, following Daedalus, the infamous artist. It is interesting that he decided to add his origin from nearby Jerusalem to his family name.”
This article is courtesy of Israel Antiquities Authority and Israel Museum Press Release