Archaeologists find Gedaliah's seal

Jerusalem - Israeli archaeologists in Jerusalem said on Friday they found the imprint of a seal that belonged to an 6th century BC official in the court of the last king of Judah who was mentioned in the Old Testament.

"We found the imprint in clay, remarkably well preserved, of a seal with the name of Gedaliah the son of Pashur," Eilat Mazar, who leads the team of archaeologists, said.

Gedaliah is mentioned in the Bible as among the ministers in the court of King Zedekiah who called for Prophet Jeremiah to be put to death for urging Jerusalem residents to surrender to the city's Babylonian attackers.

It is the second such bulla - a lump of clay stamped with a seal - found at the site in Jerusalem. A similar one was found nearby in 2005.

"How absolutely fantastic and special this find is, can only be realised when you hold in your hand this magnificent one-centimetre piece of clay and know that it survived 2 600 years in the debris of the destruction, and came to us complete and in perfect condition," said Mazar.

But Israeli archaeologist Israel Finkelstein, who wrote the "Bible Unearthed" bestseller, reacted cautiously to the find.

"Dozens of bullas from the period already have been found, some of which turned out to be fakes," he said. - Sapa-AFP


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