Archeologists uncover new evidence of Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem

Broken jugs from period of Babylonian conquest, showing the First Temple-era destruction in the City of David. (Photo: Eliyahu Yanai/Courtesy of the City of David Archive)

Israeli archeologists have unearthed findings dating back to Babylonian conquest and destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem.

Archeologists uncovered several artifacts from charcoal covered rooms in the City of David dating prior to the siege of Jerusalem at the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar over 2,600 years ago.

Archeologists found several jars for storage, as well as charred wood, fish bones, human bones and seeds. Amongst the artifacts found were an Egyptian ivory statue, pottery jars and rosette seal dating to a decade prior to the capture of the Temple by the Babylonians.

Dr. Joe Uziel, the head of the excavation carried out by the Israel’s Antiquities Authority, described the significance of their findings, explaining, “Classifying objects facilitated controlling, overseeing, collecting, marketing and storing crop yields. The rosette, in essence, replaced the ‘For the King’ seal used in the earlier administrative system.”

On the seal, he explained, “seals are characteristic of the end of the First Temple Period and were used for the administrative system that developed towards the end of the Judean dynasty.”

He spoke of the wealth of the Judean Kingdom, particularly in Jerusalem, describing the “wealth of the Judean Kingdom’s capital is also manifest in the ornamental artifacts surfacing in situ. One distinct and rare finding is a small ivory statue of a woman. The figure is naked, and her haircut, or wig, is Egyptian in style. The quality of its carving is high, and it attests to the high caliber of the artifact’s artistic level, and the skill par excellence of the artists during this era.”

The findings also point to additional evidence of Jerusalem’s constant growth throughout the Iron Age, Uziel describing how the “row of structures exposed in the excavations is located outside, beyond the city wall that would have constituted the eastern border of the city during this period. In the current excavation, we may suggest that following the westward expansion of the city, structures were built outside of the wall’s border on the east as well.”

The finding comes just a fews days before Jews worldwide commemorate Tisha, the ninth day of the Hebrew month “Av”, a day of mourning in remembrance of the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem.

This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, July 30, 2017, and reposted with permission.