Last week, archaeologists presented the mayor of Jerusalem with an ancient clay seal, discovered on the Temple Mount and inscribed with the words, “belonging to the governor of the city.” Amanda Borschel-Dan explains its significance:
According to the site’s excavator Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, “this is the first time that such an impression was found in an authorized excavation. It supports the biblical rendering of the existence of a governor of the city in Jerusalem 2,700 years ago.”
The minuscule clay seal impression . . . was found while researchers were examining the dust from a First Temple structure 100 meters northwest of the Western Wall at a site that the Israel Antiquities Authority has been excavating since 2005. The excavations have offered up insights into Jerusalem’s Second Temple and Roman periods, as well as a massive Iron Age [i.e., First Temple-period or earlier] four-room building where an eclectic collection of six other seals were uncovered, whose origins point to a thriving cosmopolitan center or settlement.
“The seal impression . . . served as some sort of logo, or as a tiny souvenir, which was sent on behalf of the governor of the city,” said Weksler-Bdolah, . . . [who explained] that the governor most likely functioned much like today’s mayor. The role is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible: in 2Kings, someone named Joshua is listed as the governor of the city in the days of King Hezekiah, and in 2Chronicles, Maaseiah is noted as governor of the city in the days of King Josiah.