Archaeologists have discovered a 2,000-year-old clay seal in Jerusalem with the inscription “Pure for God.”
The Israel Antiquities Authority archeologists found the rare coin-sized seal, which appears to be linked to Jewish religious rituals, under the Robinson’s Arch near the Temple Mount.
Archeologist Ronny Reich of Haifa University said the seal dates from between the First Century BC to AD 70, according to the Detroit Free Press. The archeologist at the Hebrew university named the dates within which Roman forces put down a Jewish revolt and destroyed one of only two biblical temples in Jerusalem, making it a very rare find.
The discovery of the seal is the first of its kind from that period of Jerusalem’s history, and Reich added that it appeared to be a unique physical artifact from the rituals that took place in the temple.
Reich said the discovery is “the first time an indication was brought by archaeology about activities in the Temple Mount – the religious activities of buying and offering and giving to the temple itself.”
The two Aramaic inscriptions on the seal are said to have “pure” and “G-d” on it for God. Archaeologists are saying that the seal was used in the temple to indicate what objects were approved for ritual use, such as oil or an animal for sacrifice. Items used during rituals were required to meet strict guidelines found in the Jewish legal text, the Mishna, which mentions the use of seals.
Very few artifacts connected to the temples in Jerusalem have been discovered. The site, now known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, has been off-limits to researchers because of religious and political issues.
Located in the oldest part of Jerusalem, the archeological dig is under the support of a broader dig nearby known as the City of David which is located inside the nearby Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan.
The site of the dig is Sunni Islams’ third most holy site, making the area highly controversial. Additionally, the Palestinian Authority wishes to make the area of the city where the temple once stood the capital of its Palestine state, reported the Huffington Post.