An Israel Antiquities Authority excavation in Jerusalem uncovered a small stone seal dating to the First Temple period earlier this week. The 8th-6th century B.C.E. personal seal was used to sign letters, and its inscription “Belonging to Matanyahu Ben Ho…” traces a direct line to its owner and usage in the First Temple period. The name Matanyahu means “giving to God.” Only the “Ho” syllable from the start of his father’s name was preserved.
The excavators found the artifact while working in a Roman-era drainage tunnel beneath Robinson’s Arch in the Jerusalem Archaeological Garden, adjacent to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. The seal, which is made from semi-precious stone, was uncovered in the rubble on the floor of a First Temple structure nearby the Temple Mount.
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