JERUSALEM – Archaeologists digging on Jerusalem's Mount of Olives have discovered a nearly 3,000-year-old jar handle bearing ancient Hebrew script, a find significantly older than most inscribed artifacts unearthed in the ancient city, an archaeologist said. The Iron Age handle is inscribed with the Hebrew name Menachem, which was the name of an Israelite king and is still common among Jews.
The inscription also includes a partly intact letter, the Hebrew character "lamed," meaning "to." That suggests the jar was a gift to someone named Menachem, said Ron Beeri, who directed the excavation for the Israel Antiquities Authority. There is no indication the inscription refers to the king himself.
The name and similar variants have been found on Egyptian pottery dating back 3,500 years, and the Bible lists Menachem Ben Gadi as an ancient king of Israel. But this is the first time an artifact bearing the name has been unearthed in Jerusalem, Beeri said.
"It's important because it shows that they actually used the name Menachem during that period," Beeri said. "It's not just from the Bible, but it's also in the archaeological record."
Based on the style of the inscription, he dated the handle to around 900 B.C., the time of the first Jewish Temple in Jerusalem as recounted in the Bible.
Ancient handle with Hebrew text found in Jerusalem
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