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Israelite king’s seal impression found for first time near Temple Mount

( Archaeologists in Jerusalem for the first time ever unearthed a seal impression of an Israelite or Judean king.

The royal seal of King Hezekiah from the First Temple period was discovered at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount at the Ophel excavation site, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced Wednesday.

Although seal impressions bearing King Hezekiah’s name have already been known from the antiquities market since the middle of the 1990s, this marks “the first time that a seal impression of an Israelite or Judean king has ever come to light in a scientific archaeological excavation,” said Dr. Eilat Mazar, who directed the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Institute of Archaeology team on this project.

The oval-shaped seal measures 9.7 by 8.6 mm and was imprinted on a 3-mm-thick soft bulla (inscribed clay) dating back to 727-698 BCE.

The inscription is in ancient Hebrew stating, “Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz king of Judah,” with a two-winged sun with wings turned downward, flanked by two ankh symbols, which symbolize life.

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