Archaeologists have discovered a rare gold bell with a small loop at its end. The finding was made during an archaeological excavation in the City of David National Park (near the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem)…
The directors of the excavation… archaeologists Eli Shukron and Professor Ronny Reich of Haifa University, said after the finding, “The bell looked as if it was sewn on the garment worn by a man of high authority in Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period.
The high priests who served in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem used to hang golden bells on the edges of their coats. The book of Exodus (Shemot), for example, contains a description of the coat of Aaron the high priest in which it is said that coat contains, “bells of gold.”
Three years ago the Israel Antiquities Authority Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery acquired a decorated ossuary bearing an engraved inscription. The ossuary was discovered by antiquities robbers who plundered an ancient Jewish tomb of the Second Temple period. During the course of the investigation it was determined that the ossuary came from a burial cave in the area of the Valley of ’Elah, in the Judean Shephelah.
Ossuaries are small stone chests that Jews used for secondary burial of bones; they were quite common in tombs in Israel from the late first century BCE until the beginning of the second century CE. The front of the ossuary that was found is decorated with a stylized floral motif above which is a long Aramaic inscription engraved in Jewish script:
‘Miriam Daughter of Yeshua Son of Caiaphas, Priests [of] Ma’aziah from Beth ’Imri’
(or, an alternative reading:
‘Miriam Daughter of Yeshua Son of Caiaphas, Priest of Ma’aziah from Beth ’Imri’)
In the conclusion of their study Dr. Boaz Zissu and Professor Yuval Goren write, “the prime importance of the inscription lies in the reference to the ancestry of the deceased – Miriam daughter of Yeshua – to the Caiaphas family, indicating the connection to the family of the Ma’aziah course of priests of Beth ’Imri”. Caiaphas is the name of Yeshua’s father, and Miriam‘s grandfather. From the wording of the inscription we learn that he belonged to a famous family of priests that was active in the first century CE. One family member, the high priest Yehosef Bar Caiaphas, is especially famous for his involvement in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus.
3,000-year-old altar uncovered at Philistine site suggests cultural links to Jews
A stone altar from the 9th century BCE was found in an archeological dig on Tel Tzafit, a site identified with the biblical Philistine city of Gat. The altar is reminiscent of Jewish altars from the same period and sheds light on the cultural links between the two peoples, who fought each other for centuries.