The newest discovery to come out of Jerusalem will shock you. Archeologists uncovered a clay seal that may have belonged to the Biblical Prophet Isaiah, the 8th century Jewish prophet for whom the Book of Isaiah is named.
The Prophet’s Seal
The eight-century artifact was discovered on February 22nd at the foot of the southern wall of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, just ten feet away from where the clay seal of King Hezekiah of Judah was found earlier in the week.
The 2,700-year-old ‘bulla’, or seal stamp, was used in ancient times to authenticate documents or items. Unearthed by archeologists led by Dr. Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, this stamped clay artifact was uncovered near undisturbed Iron Age remains outside an ancient royal bakery.
The stamp is oval-shaped. It measures half an inch in diameter. It has the name esha’yah[u] (Isaiah) on it followed by the word ‘nvy’. Experts can not for certain ascertain if the seal ended with the Hebrew letter aleph to signify that the name ended with the Hebrew word for prophet. While the name of Isaiah is clear, it’s possible that the seal belonged to someone named Isaiah Navi rather than Isaiah the Prophet.
However, given Isaiah’s close relationship with King Hezekiah, the son of Azah and the thirteenth king of Judah who reigned between between c. 715 and 686 BC, and the close proximity of their two seals, it’s very possible that this find is indeed the signatory seal of the biblical figure.
The discovery of this seal has been published in the Biblical Archeology Review. The unprecedented discovery of this artifact belonging to the Prophet Isaiah provides color and a sense of realism to the many Biblical tales of Jerusalem’s First Temple period. According to the Bible, King Hezekiah trusted the prophet Isaiah’s counsel to protect the city against Assyrian siege. No other counselor was closer to the king than the Prophet and this landmark discovery can be seen as proof of that relationship.
Other Significant Finds
This discovery follows a string of other significant finds in the region. In January, a large 1,500 year old fountain was uncovered at the site of an ancient Christian site near Jerusalem. The pool is dated to the Byzantine period and as of yet, it’s purpose is unknown.
Last year, in November, new evidence was discovered to date Christ’s tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to the Roman Era, which matches historical records. Around this time, archeologists also discovered a nearly intact 1,500 year old Christian mosaic in the coastal city of Ashdod-Yam.
Another significant find is that of the 2,300 year old skeleton of a pregnant woman, found in the Timna Valley at the site of what was once known as King Solomon’s Mines. These rare remains was uncovered buried in a tumulus, a tomb covered by rocks, near Hathor’s temple. The temple was used in ancient times to worship Hathor, the goddess of love, pleasure and maternity.
More Discoveries in the Area
Other finds include the discovery of a new section of the Western Wall that was hidden for 1,700 years as well as an ancient Greek inscription dedicted to emperor Flavius Justinian, a Byzantium ruler in the 6th century AD. The inscription was found in the old city of Jerusalem, on a 1,500 year old mosaic floor of Damascus Gate. The inscription dedicates the building to the emperor and credits Constantine, the most pious priest, for its construction in the 14th indiction.
Some experts also believe they’ve uncovered the lost Roman city of Julias. This find is particularly history as archeologists believe they’ve found the lost Roman city of Julias, home of Jesus’ apostles Peter, Andrew, and Phillip. This location was born out of the Jewish fishing village of Bethsaida during the first century AD and is most notable for being the site near which Jesus performed his miracle of feeding five thousand people with just five loaves of bread and two fish.