Golden glimpse into the past: 2,300-year-old child’s ring found in Jerusalem

May 27, 2024 by Pesach Benson
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Archaeologists discovered a remarkably well-preserved 2,300-year-old child’s ring from the Hellenistic period at an excavation in Jerusalem’s City of David archaeological park, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Monday.

A 2,300-year-old gold ring discovered in Jerusalem’s City of David excavation. Photo by Emil Aladjem, Israel Antiquities Authority

The gold ring, adorned with a red precious stone — believed to be garnet — has a small diameter, leading experts to believe it was likely worn by a boy or girl.

“I was sifting earth through the screen and suddenly saw something glitter. I immediately yelled, ‘I found a ring, I found a ring!’” said Tehiya Gangate, a member of the excavation team. “Within seconds, everyone gathered around me, and there was great excitement. This is an emotionally moving find, not the kind you find every day. In truth, I always wanted to find gold jewelry, and I am very happy this dream came true — literally a week before I went on maternity leave.”

The discovery “paints a new picture of the nature and stature of Jerusalem’s inhabitants in the Early Hellenistic Period,” said Tel Aviv University Professor Yuval Gadot.

“Whereas in the past we found only a few structures and finds from this era, and thus most scholars assumed Jerusalem was then a small town, limited to the top of the southeastern slope (“City of David”) and with relatively very few resources, these new finds tell a different story,” Gadot explained.

“It certainly seems that the city’s residents were open to the widespread Hellenistic style and influences prevalent also in the eastern Mediterranean Basin,” he added.

The City of David is the original core of the ancient biblical city. Located just outside the southern walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, it is considered one of Israel’s most important archaeological sites. It is where King David established his capital and the site of many pivotal Biblical events. The park is best known for Hezekiah’s Tunnel, which was constructed by King Hezekiah to provide water to the city ahead of an Assyrian siege led by Sennacherib.

Visitors can see the excavated remains of houses, cisterns, and fortifications, getting a glimpse into Jerusalem’s ancient history.

The ring will be displayed to the public at an Antiquities Authority conference on Jerusalem Day on June 4.

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