Jerusalem : The earliest written inscription of the word Jerusalem written in Hebrew on a 2,000 year old limestone column drum was unveiled on Tuesday at a press conference at The Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
The limestone column drum that dates back to the Second Temple period, was discovered 10 months ago on an excavation site near the International Convention Center in Jerusalem.
The words: “Hanania son of Dudolos from Jerusalem” was etched on the column which was part of a building that stood in a Jewish potters village near the entrance of the Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago.
In Hebrew, Jerusalem was typically referred to as Shalem in ancient times. On the column, it’s spelled Yerushalayim. No older reference with that spelling has ever been found.
The inscription was found by workers digging near Binyanei Ha’Uma, where they were excavating to clear the way for a new road. The Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Museum presented the limestone column drum the news conference Tuesday.
“As a resident of Jerusalem, I am extremely excited to read this inscription, written 2,000 years ago, especially when I think that this inscription will be accessible to every child that can read and uses the same script used two millennia ago,” Israel Museum director Ido Bruno said.
The only other reference to Yerushalayim from that period of time was found on a coin.
“First and Second Temple period inscriptions mentioning Jerusalem are quite rare,” said Yuval Baruch, regional archaeologist of the Israel Antiquities Authority. “But even more unique is the complete spelling of the name as we know it today, which usually appears in the shorthand version.”
Danit Levy, who led the excavation, said the area was popular for pottery and cooking vessel production during Herod the Great’s reign.
The reference to Dudolos might be more of an homage to the Greek artist that shares the same name, scientists said.
Image : Danit Levy, Israeli Antiquities Authority excavation manager, touches the stone column drum with a 2,000-year-old stone inscription, dating to the Second Temple Period (First Century CE), at a news conference on Tuesday at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.