2,000-year-old ring found in ancient Jerusalem ritual bath

December 25, 2018 by JNS
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A 2,000-year-old ring with a solitaire gemstone was uncovered in archaeological excavations in the City of David National Park in Jerusalem.

A 2,000-year-old ring was found in an ancient ritual bath uncovered at the City of David, just outside the Old City of Jerusalem. Photo courtesy of the City of David.

The ring was found by Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists in what appears to be an ancient mikvah (Jewish ritual bath) on the Pilgrimage Road, which dates back to the time of the second Temple period. The ancient paved road runs up from the Shiloach (Siloam) pool to the Temple Mount and is thought to have been the main thoroughfare taken by pilgrims to the Temple.

According to archaeologists Nachshon Zenton, Moran Hajabi, Ari Levy and Dr Joe Uziel, “Just like today, it would appear that in the past, rings and jewellery were removed before bathing and sometimes forgotten. This phenomenon, perhaps, is behind the discovery in what appears to be a ritual bath. This ring allows us to personally connect with an individual’s personal story from 2,000 years ago. Along with other finds, [it] can shed light and expose the lives of people during the Second Temple period.”

Doron Spielman, vice president of the City of David Foundation, which oversees the City of David National Park where the ring was found, said, “It’s incredible to think that this beautiful ring sat at the bottom of a mikvah on the ancient Pilgrimage Road for 2,000 years until it was uncovered by archaeologists in the City of David. It is yet another piece in the puzzle that is ancient Jerusalem.”

The City of David is Israel’s largest active archaeological site, situated upon the ancient city of Jerusalem. It is the place recorded in the Bible upon which King David established Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel 3,000 years ago, and which remained the seat of the Davidic dynasty for centuries thereafter.

The City of David is an Israeli National Heritage Site with more than 500,000 visitors annually.


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