Israeli Archaeologists Find 2,000-year-old Financial Record in Jerusalem.

About 120 years ago, two British archaeologists doing excavations in ancient Jerusalem did not discover the inscription dating to the Early Roman period that the Israel Antiquities Authority unveiled on Wednesday. They left it undiscovered, but the late 19th-century trench where Israeli archaeologists working with the antiquities authority found it this year was dug by these two Brits – Frederick Jones Bliss and Archibald Campbell Dickie.

The inscription is on a broken fragment of limestone tablet. It consists of seven fragmented lines written in Hebrew, alongside numbers. This, the Israel Antiquities Authority suggests, is a financial record from about 2,000 years ago. It could be a receipt, in theory.

This isn’t the first financial record from antiquity to be found in Israel. Nahshon Szanton, the authority’s excavations director, and epigraphist Prof. Esther Eshel of Bar Ilan University, list four similar Hebrew inscriptions in an article in the archaeological journal ‘Atiqot. All were found in the vicinity of Jerusalem and the nearby city of Beit Shemesh, and all contain names and numbers, written on stone tablets and dating to the early Roman period.

But this is the first to have been found in the core of ancient Jerusalem itself, the authority says – and on the city’s main drag, the Roman-era Stepped Street leading to the Temple Mount, no less. In a trench left by Bliss and Dickie 120 years ago.

The Stepped Street pilgrimage route is thought to have been built by Pontius Pilate and is believed to have only been in use for a few decades before being covered in debris from the Roman destruction of Jerusalem.

Source: www.haaretz.com


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