Tag Archives: jewelry

Unique golden bell found in Jerusalem drain

Arutz Sheva (Israel National News.com) reports that archaeologists have “discovered a rare gold bell with a small hook at its end.”

The directors of the excavation on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, archaeologists Eli Shukron and Professor Ronny Reich of Haifa University, said after the finding, “The bell looked as if it was sewn on the garment worn by a man of high authority in Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period.

“The bell was exposed in the city’s main drainage channel of that period, between the layers of dirt that had been piled on the floor of the channel,” they continued. “This drainage channel was built and hewn west to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount and drained the rainfall in the different parts of the city, through the City of David and the Shiloah Pool to the Kidron valley.”

The excavation area, above the drain, is located in the main street of Jerusalem which rose from the Shiloah Pool in the City of David. In this street an interchange was built through which people entered the Temple Mount. The remains of this interchange are what is known today as Robinson’s Arch. Archaeologists believe that the eminent man walked the streets of Jerusalem in the area of Robinson’s Arch and lost the golden bell which fell off his outfit into the drain beneath the street.

The full news report may be read here.

Golden bell found in Jerusalem drain. Photo: ynet.co.il.

Golden bell found in Jerusalem drain. Photo: IAA.

The best I can tell from the description of the location is that it is near the area of Robinson’s Arch. We saw workmen at the northern end of the drainage channel about which we have reported earlier (here) during our visit to the area in May. I understand that eventually the channel will be open all the way from the A.D. 70 street below Robinson’s Arch to the Pool of Siloam. I have lightened the area under the grill so you can see the workman’s arm.

Opening in A.D. 70 street below Robinson's Arch. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Opening in A.D. 70 street below Robinson's Arch. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

I note in the news report that the archaeologists did not rule out the possibility that this bell might have belonged to one of the high priests. Actually, one can not rule out much of anything with so little information. My first thought almost simultaneously was the bells on the garments of the high priest and a woman’s jewelry. Note the earlier discovery of jewelry here.

The adornment of the priestly garment is described in Exodus.

“You shall make on its hem pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet material, all around on its hem, and bells of gold between them all around:  a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, all around on the hem of the robe. (Exodus 28:33-34 NAU)

Jim Davila, at Paleojudaica, comments wisely on the suggestion that this bell might have belonged to a priest or a man of high authority:

Well, maybe. On the one hand it is true that the only references to golden bells in the Hebrew Bible are to bells on the vestments of the high priest (Exodus 28:33-34; 39:25-26). On the other hand, first, the only other mention of bells (a different Hebrew word) refers to horses’ trappings (Zechariah 14:20). Presumably, bells were used in many other contexts, so our sample of cultural allusions is limited. But, you say, what about golden bells? Well, second, Isaiah 3:16-18 refers to bangles that the rich women of Jerusalem wore on their ankles and which “tinkled” or made some kind of bangle noise. These ladies clearly had lots of jewelery and finery (cf. also vv. 19-23), so it seems entirely likely that they sometimes wore bells as jewelry and that some of those bells might well have been made of gold. And we know that Second-Temple-era ladies in Jerusalem had very nice gold earrings. So this bell need not have come from “a man of high authority.”

The Christian Standard Bible translation of Isaiah 3:16 is vivid:

The LORD also says: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, walking with heads held high and seductive eyes, going along with prancing steps, jingling their ankle bracelets, (Isaiah 3:16 CSB)

HT: Joseph Lauer

Cupid cameo found in Jerusalem

The 11th Annual City of David Archaeology Conference is scheduled for Wednesday, September 1. One item that will be discussed is the recently discovered 2,000 year old semi-precious cameo with an image of Cupid (the Eros of Greek mythology) on it.

Cupid Cameo found in Jerusalem.

Cupid Cameo found in Jerusalem. Photo IAA/Clara Amit.

This inlaid stone is of the “Eros in mourning” type, and is one of a group of visual motifs connected with the imagery of mourning practices. Jewelry bearing such motifs – earrings and rings, were not necessarily worn only in mourning rites, rather, they also served as memento mori, reminders of the fleeting nature of life.

The cameo, which is thought to have come from a piece of jewelry, is 0.39 in. long and 0.03 in. wide. It was discovered in the Givati Parking lot excavation under the direction of Dr. Doron Ben Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets.

We have noted other surprising discoveries in this area here and here. The area is not open to the public. Last May I made this photo through a hole which had been made (by someone else) in the metal fence surrounding the area. This site is immediately south of the old city wall, a few hundred feet east of Dung Gate. Needless to say, construction of the garage has been delayed. This is what happens when one begins to dig in Jerusalem.

Givati Garage Excavations. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Givati Garage Excavations. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Eros. William Barclay often mentions erōs when he comments on a text dealing with love. You recall the four words: agape, philia, storgé, and erōs. Barclay says,

There is the noun erōs and the accompanying verb eran. These words describe the love of a man for a maid; there is always passion in them; and there is always sexual love. Sophocles described erōs as “the terrible longing.” In these words there is nothing essentially bad; they simply describe the passion of human love; but as time went on they began to be tinged with the idea of lust rather than love, and they never occur in the New Testament at all. (The Gospel of Matthew at Matthew 5:43-48)

HT: Joseph I. Lauer

3,500 year old bracelet found in upper Galilee

A bronze bracelet dating to the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1550–1200 BC) has been found during an excavation at Ramat Razim in the vicinity of Zefat (Tsefat, Safad). Karen Covello-Paran, director of the excavation, says,

“We discovered a wide rare bracelet made of bronze. The ancient bracelet, which is extraordinarily well preserved, is decorated with engravings and the top of it is adorned with a horned structure. At that time horns were the symbol of the storm-god and they represented power, fertility and law. The person who could afford such a bracelet was apparently very well off financially, and it probably belonged to the village ruler. It is interesting to note that in the artwork of neighboring lands gods and rulers were depicted wearing horned crowns; however, such a bracelet, and from an archaeological excavation at that, has never been found here.”

Rare bronze 3,500 year old bracelet. Photo: Clara Amit, courtesty IAA.

Rare bronze 3,500 year old bracelet. Photo: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Large Canaanite cities, such as Megiddo and Hazor, have been excavated, but this is the first time a village of the Late Bronze Age has been excavated in the north of Israel. This site, Ramat Razim, is located southeast of Zefat, and is thought to have “constituted part of the periphery of Tel Hazor,” according to Covello-Paran.

The Late Bronze Age is the period of Moses, the Exodus, and the Conquest in biblical history.

The IAA news release may be read in its entirety here. A hi-res image is available here.

HT: Joseph I. Lauer

Gold earring from Roman-Byzantine period

We noted earlier here about the discovery in Jerusalem of what is thought to be a palace belonging to the first century Queen of Adiabene. Archaeologists working for the Israel Antiquities Authority have found a single earring. The IAA press release describes the earring this way:

The earring, which is made of a coiled gold hoop, has a large inlaid pearl in its center. Connected to the hoop are two identical gold pendants, each of which is adorned with one emerald and pearl. The emerald is held by a kind of gold cap that connects it to the main hoop by means of a small hoop that is also fashioned from gold. Another pearl that is relatively smaller than the one inlaid in the upper hoop is attached to the other side of the emerald. The pearl is fastened to the emerald by means of a gold finding, which passes through a tiny hole that was drilled in it.

The earring was discovered in the ruins of a building dating from the Byzantine period (fourth-fifth centuries A.D.). The excavators say that this jewelry could have been produced sometime between the first century B.C. and the fourth century A.D.

The earring and a model displaying it. IAA Photos.

The earring and a model displaying it. IAA Photos.

I suspect we will see this design in stores soon.

Jesus spoke a parable that illustrates the value of a pearl.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. (Matthew 13:45-46 NASB)