In a raid on a home in Jerusalem, Israeli officials discovered hundreds of ancient artifacts, ranging from coins to Babylonian bowls used to restrain demons. Amanda Borschel-Dan writes:
The three “magic” bowls were created in the 5th-7th centuries CE in present-day Iraq. They are among some 3,000 that have been discovered to date, which were used by Jews and non-Jews alike during this era.
The Tel Aviv University professor Matthew Morgenstern, an expert in Jewish Babylonian Aramaic and Classical Mandaic who has photographed hundreds of incantation bowls and has published academic articles on them extensively, told the Times of Israel that such bowls were written in several Babylonian Aramaic dialects and placed protectively around the house for its protection, upside down to trap the demons or evil entities. Some even have “addresses” on the back telling the owner where to put them, he said.
“The Jewish bowls draw heavily on Jewish tradition, cite [biblical] verses, and even contain the earliest written attestations we have for Jewish texts like the Mishnah or benedictions,” said Morgenstern.
Additional rare finds discovered in the Jerusalem home include rare and valuable ivory furniture inlays that were common in the 9th and 8th centuries BCE and have been uncovered at sites including Tel Megiddo and in Samaria.