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Earring from Roman Period Found At City of David

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2000-YEAR OLD EARRING DISCOVERED AT
CITY OF DAVID IN JERUSALEM

 
Jerusalem, Israel - 19 November 2008 -
(From the Israel Antiquities Authority) A 2000-year old gold earring inlaid with pearls and precious stones was discovered at an excavation of the Giv'ati car park at the City of David in Jerusalem.
City of David earring

The earring, which is made of a coiled gold hoop, has a large inlaid pearl in its center, and two identical gold pendants hanging off from it, each of which is adorned with one emerald and one pearl.  According to Dr. Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, directors of the excavation at the site, "The earring was astonishingly well preserved, so much so that it seems it was manufactured only yesterday. The data we have available today about jewelry and the manufacture of jewels in the ancient world indicate that the earring, which was discovered in the ruins of a building which dates to the Byzantine period (fourth-fifth centuries AD), was apparently originally produced during the course of the Roman period (between the first century BC and the beginning of the fourth century AD). Gold jewelry inlaid with precious stones and pearls were used throughout the Roman Empire - from the Roman provinces in the east to Britain in the west. One of the most detailed and impressive sources of information we have that were preserved from this period are the Fayum portraits that were discovered in Egypt. These drawings, which decorated the tombs of the mummies at Fayum, present an entire gallery of the deceased images dressed in their best attire and wearing expensive jewelry. It is interesting to note that in the portraits of the women from Fayum they are wearing gold earrings and necklaces that in most cases are inlaid with pearls and emeralds. These earrings are surprisingly reminiscent of the earring from the City of David, and it seems that they were fashioned in a similar technique."

The excavations at the Giv'ati car park are being carried out jointly with the Nature and Parks Authority and are underwritten by the Ir David Foundation. A year ago a large impressive edifice that dates to the end of the Second Temple period was exposed in the excavations. Based on evidence from the writings of Josephus Flavius, the building that was uncovered was probably erected by the Hadyab family. The most famous member of that family was Queen Heleni, who converted to Judaism and moved to Jerusalem, where she was buried.

 

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