Israeli archeologists recently made a groundbreaking discovery in Jerusalem when they unearthed a rare set of well-preserved column heads, also called capitals, believed to be a part of a mansion during the First Temple Period.
“This is a very exciting discovery. This is a first-time discovery of scaled-down models of the giant Proto-Aeolian capitals, of the kind found thus far in the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel, where they were incorporated above the royal palace gates,” Yaakov Billig, Director of Israel Antiquities Authority’s excavation, said. “The level of workmanship on these capitals is the best seen to date, and the degree of preservation of the items is rare,” he added.
A video on the City of David Ancient Jerusalem’s Facebook page captures the excitement of the researchers as the artifacts are being uncovered. The column heads were excavated at the Armon Hanatziv promenade in Jerusalem and the excavation was headed up by the City of David Foundation and the Israel Antiquities Authority.
According to CBN News, the stone artifacts found from the dig were originally created out of limestone. Each column capital features an ancient symbol dating back to the biblical Kingdoms of Israel and Judah.
The same ancient symbol can be found on Israel’s contemporary five shekel coin.
It is believed by researchers that the ancient estate was erected between the period of kings Hezekiah and Josiah, following Assyria’s conquest of Jerusalem in 701 B.C.
Despite the excellent condition of some of the pillar heads, the rest of the building has been destroyed.
Nevertheless, Billig explained how the archeological discovery provides a glimpse into what Jerusalem was like after Assyria besieged the city.
“This find, alongside the palace that was found in the past at Ramat Rachel and the administrative center found on the slopes of Arnona attest to a revival of the city and leaving the walled areas of the First Temple era after the Assyrian siege,” he said.
“We find villas, mansions, and government buildings in the unwalled areas outside the city and this attests to the relief felt by the residents of the city after the siege was lifted.”
Billig also showed mini capitals that would have decorated the window of the ancient building.
Hili Tropper, Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sport, added that the recent uncovering of the artifacts “reflects the glorious roots of the Jewish people and our rich past here in the capital city [of] Jerusalem.”
He added, “I see great importance in the work of the Israel Antiquities Authority and in the work of the City of David in their discoveries over the years, which reveal parts of the illustrious Jewish past. The past is the cornerstone of a nation, and the cornerstone of culture and its discovery also affects the present as well as the future.”
Photo courtesy: City of David Ancient Jerusalem Facebook
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.