Ancient Bethlehem seal found; first reference to city outside Bible
2012-05-29 0:00

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

England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims
2016-04-27 2:23
St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July. The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’
2016-04-27 2:09
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown. The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent. He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop
2016-04-25 23:10
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are. ... London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race. Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event. Marathon ...
BBC says this woman looks like the 15th century Queen of England
2016-04-25 23:15
Sophie Okonedo, the daughter of a Nigerian father and Jewish mother, is portraying Margaret of Anjou in the BBC Drama series “The Hollow Crown”. Why? Margaret of Anjou was a White Christian woman. Okonedo is probably the polar opposite of that. Over the years we have seen Black Vikings in Thor: the Dark World. We have seen only non-White people playing the American ...
Three German Cities to Tip Nonwhite
2016-04-23 2:24
Mass Third World immigration to Germany will “soon” cause the three German cities of Augsburg, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt to tip into majority nonwhite status, one of that country’s most prominent demographers has announced. Speaking in an interview in the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper, “integration expert” Jens Schneider said that Augsburg will be one of the “first major German cities where people with ...
More News »