“No other example of the fully spelled-out name of Jerusalem has been found to date on artifacts from such an ancient era,” reported the Israeli press, following the exciting announcement by the Israeli Antiquities Authority on what they have just discovered.
The Israel Museum now hosts yet another ancient artifact giving a taste of what life was like for the Jewish people in Israel in the first century BC. Close to the remains of an ancient Israeli pottery factory, we find the inscription of the name Hananiah, which is still a common Jewish name in Israel today.
On a piece of a re-purposed limestone Roman column is the 2,100 year old inscription in Aramaic (in Hebrew letters) saying: “Hananiah son of Dodalos of Jerusalem.”
It was discovered by Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologist Danit Levy. near the Binyanei Ha’uma International Convention Center in Jerusalem, and is an extremely rare find. Dr. Yuval Baruch, head of the IAA’s Jerusalem district, and Prof. Ronny Reich, of the University of Haifa who have been studying the find explain:
“Inscriptions mentioning Jerusalem during the First and Second Temple periods (from about 1000 B.C.E. to 70 C.E.) are extremely rare, and typically use abbreviated spellings of the city’s name… The unusual full spelling, with that second yod, appears only five time in the Bible – out of a total of 660 mentions of the name of the holy city: in Jeremiah 26:18, Esther 2:6, 2 Chronicles 25:1, 2 Chronicles 32: 9, and 2 Chronicles 25: 1.”1
The two letter “yods” at the end of Jerusalem is a Hebrew suffix which indicates that it is a pair (above and below), but Jerusalem is most commonly spelled with only one “yod”.
“I got to the column and my heart began to pound and almost burst, and everyone around me seemed to hear it. I wanted to take pictures, I took out the cell phone and my hands shook… It is rare to find an inscription, it is rare to find an inscription in Hebrew and it is rare to find the word Jerusalem in full spelling.” 2
The inscription provides a clear testimony that Jews were locals, living in Jerusalem, writing in Hebrew letters, all those years ago.
The only other known instance of the full spelling of Jerusalem on an ancient artifact was discovered among the exciting discovery of bronze coins from the time of the Great Revolt of the Jews against the Romans at the end of the Second Temple period that were recently found in a cave that had been sealed for 2,000 years.
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- HaAretz, Earliest-ever Inscription Bearing Jerusalem’s Full Name Unearthed in Roadwork, Nir Hasson, Oct 10, 2018
- Arutz Sheva, “My heart was pounding, my hands shook” Archaeologist tells Arutz Sheva of exciting moments when she discovered Second Temple-era Hebrew inscription noting Jerusalem, Hezki Baruch, 09/10/18