A rare gold and silver ornament found in Jerusalem among ashes of Babylonian destruction

The rare ornament was found among layers of ash that attest to the razing of Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple by Nebuchadnezzar in 587/586 BCE. It was revealed by the Mount Zion Archaeological Project together with an abundance of artifacts including Scythian arrowheads identified in other 7th and 6th century sites as used by Babylonian warriors of the day. Shimon Gibson, a UNC Charlotte professor of history and co-director of the project, described the tiny ornament found in the dig on Mount Zion, which overlooks Temple Mount, as part of a tassel or an earring with a bell-shaped upper part in gold and a silver cluster of grapes below. Gibson describes it as “a unique find attesting to the wealth of the inhabitants of the city at the time of the Babylonian siege.” The little silver cluster of grapes is almost detached from its golden case, as if the jewel had been violently torn from somebody.” The professor  added: “I like to think that we are excavating inside one of the ‘Great Man’s houses’ mentioned in the second book of Kings 25:9.” The biblical books of Kings and Daniel describe Nebuchadnezzar as taking back to Babylon, a rich haul of gold and copper vessels from the city he destroyed. This tiny jewel was uniquely overlooked.

 

 

 

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