During excavations conducted by the Israeli Antiquities Authority in the city of David in the national park surrounding the walls of Jerusalem, a small fragment of a stone tablet with an inscription that was seemingly used for economic purposes, a receipt of some sort, was discovered. The tablet dates back to the early Roman or late Hasmonean rule in Israel.
About seven lines of the inscription have been preserved in fragments, in which a number of letters and fragments of Hebrew names have been identified, along with numbers. Thus, for example, in one line the end of the common Hebrew name "Shimon", and in other lines there are several numerals.
Found:— Yisrael Medad (@ymedad) May 17, 2023
A financial record from 2,000 years ago was uncovered on the Pilgrimage Road in the City of David–Jerusalem's main thoroughfare during the Second Temple period
The small stone tablet, engraved with letters and numbers, was in an area considered a bustling commercial area. pic.twitter.com/UDa8d1ztaj
In an article recently published in the journal "Atiqot" by Nachshon Zanton, director of the excavation from the Antiquities Authority, and his research partner Prof. Esther Eshel of theBar-Ilan University, it was noted that so far the research has recorded four more similar Hebrew inscriptions, in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh, indicating names and numbers inscribed on top of similar stone tablets, they are also from the Roman period, but this is the first inscription that has been uncovered to this day within the boundaries of the city of Jerusalem.
According to the researchers, "The inscription was engraved with a sharp tool on a soft limestone slab. The stone slab was originally used, apparently, as a cover slab for an ossuary, a small stone coffin, an item that was common in Jerusalem and Judea in the early Roman period between 37 BC to 70 AD. For the most part, ossuaries are usually found in graves outside the city, but there is also their presence within the city limits - perhaps as part of a local maker's house or a shop that sold them."
The Minister of Heritage, Rabbi Amichai Eliyahu, said: "The special discovery on the way of the pilgrims in Jerusalem reveals another part of the essence of Jewish life in the city already 2,000 years ago. The unique excavations of the Antiquities Authority at the site position the City of David as an international historical center of the Jewish people. The Ministry of Heritage will continue to operate to strengthen and promote the national heritage at all levels."
The director of the Antiquities Authority, Eli Escocido, commented on the discovery of the find and said: "The Pilgrim's Road that is being uncovered these days in the City of David National Park in Jerusalem is one of the flagship excavations currently managed by the Antiquities Authority, and it is no coincidence that the many find that are discovered as part of the excavation shed light on the centrality of this road even in the days of The Second Temple. Every find like this helps us in understanding the entire space and enables a deeper understanding of the role of the street in the lives of the residents of Jerusalem 2000 years ago."