Ancient Bethlehem seal found; first reference to city outside Bible
2012 05 29

By Thomas H. Maugh II | LATimes.com

Israeli archaeologists digging near the city of Jerusalem have discovered an ancient clay bulla, about 2,700 years old, bearing the name Bethlehem. The artifact is the only known ancient reference to the city of Jesus’ birth found outside the Bible, experts said. The find shows not only that the city existed, but that it probably also had a thriving commercial trade.

A bulla is a piece of clay used to make an impression in wax, sealing a document. The wax was intended to show the integrity of the document once it reached its final destination. The bulla is generally impressed with the name of the person who sent the document.


A clay bulla, or seal, inscribed with the name Bethlehem, the only known ancient reference to the city found outside the Bible. (Israel Antiquities Authority / May 23, 2012)

The bulla has three lines of text. The first says "in the seventh;" the second says Bethlehem; and the third has the letter "ch," which was probably the last letter of melech, the word for king. "It seems that in the seventh year of the reign of a king (it is unclear if the king referred to here is Hezekiah, Manasseh or Josiah), a shipment was dispatched from Bethlehem to the king in Jerusalem," said archaeologist Eli Shukron, director of the excavation. The bulla itself is what is known as a "fiscal bulla," one used to seal tax shipments to the kingdom of Judah.

"This is the first time the name Bethlehem appears outside the Bible, in an inscription from the First Temple period, which proves that Bethlehem was indeed a city in the kingdom of Judah, and possibly also in earlier periods," Shukron said.

The dig itself is somewhat controversial because it is being conducted in a national park in the Jerusalem suburb of Silwan, known to Jews as the City of David. The excavation is funded by the Ir David Foundation, which seeks to populate the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan with Jewish settlers, claiming a link to antiquity.


Article from: latimes.com





Related Articles
Easter Island archaeology project digs up island’s bodies
Archaeologists Uncover Native Americans’ Sprawling metropolis Under St Louis
Archaeologists discover ancient clay seal in Jerusalem (2011)
Ancient image of childbirth discovered by blind archaeologist
Archaeologists Claim to Have Found Oldest Human Remains in Israel


Latest News from our Front Page

Sand Pirates: ISIS Are America’s 21st Century Terrorist Privateers
2014 11 01
What is ISIS? If you believe govt and corporate propaganda, you still think that ISIS is a grassroots Islamic ideological movement ¨C and with no connection to intelligence agencies like America¡¯s CIA, Britain¡¯s MI6, Turkish (NATO) intelligence, Saudi intelligence, Israeli intelligence, or Pakistan¡¯s ISI. The reality of ISIS is something altogether different¡­ On closer inspection, these marauding paramilitary ISIS gangs are nothing ...
Ancient Stone Circles in Mideast Baffle Archaeologists
2014 11 01
Huge stone circles in the Middle East have been imaged from above, revealing details of structures that have been shrouded in mystery for decades. The Big Circle called J1 is about 390 meters (1,280 feet) in diameter, with an open area created by bulldozing in its interior. Credit: David L. Kennedy, copyright is retained by the Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology ...
Sweden Recognizes Palestinian State; Israel Upset
2014 10 31
Sweden on Thursday became the biggest Western European country to recognize a Palestinian state, prompting a strong protest from Israel, which swiftly withdrew its ambassador from Stockholm. The move by Sweden’s new left-leaning government reflects growing international impatience with Israel’s nearly half-century control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip. It also comes during increased ...
Fed-Backed Study: How to Brainwash Public into Fearing “Climate Change” Like Ebola
2014 10 31
$84K study seeks ways to make public fear "climate change and overpopulation" The National Science Foundation is funding a study to determine how to brainwash the public into fearing “climate change and overpopulation” as if they were Ebola. The NSF awarded an $84,000 grant to researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo yesterday to figure out how to make ...
Brain decoder can eavesdrop on your inner voice
2014 10 31
As you read this, your neurons are firing – that brain activity can now be decoded to reveal the silent words in your head TALKING to yourself used to be a strictly private pastime. That’s no longer the case – researchers have eavesdropped on our internal monologue for the first time. The achievement is a step towards helping people who cannot ...
More News »