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History & Archeology

Jerusalem of Gold: A 2300-year-old gold ring was found in the City of David

Rikki Zalut Har-Tuv, one of the excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, with the ring – Photo: Emil Aladjem, Israel Antiquities Authority

In another amazing discovery, Israeli archeologists uncovered a 2300-year-old gold set with a precious stone ring in the ancient City of David, located just to the south of the Old City of Jerusalem’s walls.

The ring was found in the joint Israel Antiquities Authority – Tel Aviv University excavation. Its small diameter leads experts to suggest it is a child’s ring, either girl or boy, who lived in Jerusalem during the Hellenistic period ) sometime between the mid 4th and the mid 2nd centuries B.C. The find will be exhibited to the public for the first time in the free Jerusalem Day conference arranged by the Israel Antiquities Authority – “Jerusalem Mysteries – The Archaeology of Jerusalem”

The find will be exhibited to the public in the free “Jerusalem Mysteries” conference hosted The archeologists said the gold used is a very refined material is and is exceedingly well-preserved, accumulating no rust or other damage over more than 2,000 years.

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This special ring was recently by discovered by Tehiya Gangate, a City of David excavation team member, while she was sifting excavated earth.

“I was sifting earth through the screen and suddenly saw something glitter,” she recounts. “I immediately yelled, ‘I found a ring, I found a ring!’ Within seconds everyone gathered around me, and there was great excitement. This is an emotionally moving find, not the kind you find every day. In truth I always wanted to find gold jewelry, and I am very happy this dream came true- literal a week before I went on maternity leave.”

Gold jewelry was well-known in the Hellenistic world, from Alexander the Great’s reign onward. His conquests helped spread and transport luxury goods and products. Often jewelry decorations were drawn from mythological figures or significant symbolic events. Eli Escusido, Israel Antiquities Authority Head, comments that “The excavation in ancient Jerusalem reveals invaluable information to us about our past. In honor of Jerusalem Day we are happy to invite the public to attend, free of charge, an evening dedicated to Fascinating discoveries in Jerusalem.

“The recently-found gold ring joins other ornaments of the early Hellenistic period found in the City of David excavations, including the horned-animal earring and the decorated gold bead,” noted Professor Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University and excavator Efrat Bocher. “The Givati Parking Lot excavation finds are beginning to paint a new picture of the nature and stature of Jerusalem’s inhabitants in the Early Hellenistic Period. Whereas in the past we found only a few structures and finds from this era, and thus most scholars assumed Jerusalem was then a small town, limited to the top of the southeastern slope (“City of David”) and with relatively very few resources, these new finds tell a different story.”

That story is the aggregate of revealed structures now constitute an entire neighborhood. They attest to both domestic and public buildings, and that the city extended from the hilltop westward. The character of the buildings – and now of course, the gold finds and other discoveries, display the city’s healthy economy and even its elite status. It certainly seems that the city’s residents were open to the widespread Hellenistic style and influences prevalent also in the eastern Mediterranean Basin.



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