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This First Temple Period bulla, found in the City of David, is the earliest known mention of ancient Bethlehem. This artifact extends the archaeological history of Bethlehem closer its Hebew Bible narratives.
On May 23, 2012 the Israel Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of a 2,700 year old bulla bearing an inscription reading “Bethlehem.” The discovery marks the earliest known mention of ancient Bethlehem, a city best remembered as Jesus’ birthplace centuries later.
Bulla - Piece - Clay - Document - Container
A bulla, or stamped piece of clay used to seal a document or container, was used to mark the identity of the sender or author of a document, and was an essential means of marking ownership in ancient transactions. The 1.5 cm bulla found at the City of David in Jerusalem bears the inscription:
Despite the extended Biblical history of the city, the discovery of the bulla is the first archaeological evidence extending the history of Bethlehem to a First Temple Period Israelite city.
Excavation - Director - Eli - Shukron - Interpretation
Excavation director Eli Shukron gave a dramatic interpretation of the bulla in the IAA press release.
“It seems that in the seventh year of the reign of a king...
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