Givati Parking Lot Dig Unearths Rare Seal of Woman

Biblical Archaeology Society | 9/17/2019 | Staff
Click For Photo: https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/elihana-bat-gael-seal-reversed.jpg

Discovered in the Givati Parking Lot excavations in Jerusalem’s City of David, this First Temple period seal belonged to a woman named Elihana bat Gael. Seal inscriptions were written in reverse; this image has been mirrored to facilitate the reading of the seal. Photo: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Mirrored image courtesy of Christopher Rollston.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) recently announced the discovery of two First Temple period seals from the Givati Parking Lot excavations in Jerusalem’s City of David. One seal belonged to a woman named Elihana bat Gael (“Elihana daughter of Gael”), and the other belonged to a man named Sa‘aryahu (or Sa‘adyahu) ben Shabenyahu (“Sa‘aryahu [or Sa‘adyahu] son of Shabenyahu”).* Ancient Near Eastern seals that belonged to women are rare.

Years - Excavation - Givati - Parking - Lot

After nine years of excavation in the Givati Parking Lot, the archaeological team, led by Dr. Doron Ben-Ami, Yana Tchekhanovets and Salome Cohen, reached First Temple period strata. The team found within a building that may have been an administrative center the two First Temple period seals, which are composed of semi-precious stone.

In a blog post assessing the Givati Parking Lot seals, epigrapher Christopher Rollston, Associate Professor of Northwest Semitic languages and literatures at the George Washington University, notes that the inscriptions were written in the standard Old Hebrew script. While the IAA press release suggests that the seals date to 600 B.C.E., Rollston argues based on the inscription style that the seals date to the late eighth–early seventh century B.C.E.

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The other First Temple period seal found in the Givati Parking Lot excavations belonged to a...
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