A 2,600-year-old clay seal impression, or bulla, bearing the name "Gedaliah ben Pashur" has recently been discovered completely intact during archaeological excavations in Jerusalem's City of David-- below the walls of the Old City near the Dung Gate.
The historical significance of this discovery stems from the bulla's name which appears in the Book of Jeremiah (38:1) together with that of "Yehuchal ben Shelemayahu," whose name was found on an identical clay bulla in the same area in 2005. The two men were ministers in the court of King Zedekiah, the last king to rule in Jerusalem before the destruction of the First Temple.
"It is not very often that such a discovery happens in which real figures of the past shake off the dust of history and so vividly revive the stories of the Bible," says Dr. Eilay Mazar of the Hebrew University and leader in the recent excavation.
Both bullae, clearly preserved and lettered in ancient Hebrew, were found among the debris of the destruction of the First Temple period (2,600-2,800 years ago). More finds are expected as archaeologists continue to sift through the rubble from the dig, which was sponsored by the Ir David (City of David) Foundation together with the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Hebrew University and the Shalem Center.
Deep underground, the City of David continues to reveal some of the most exciting archaeological finds of the ancient world, while above ground, the site is a vibrant center of activity and popular tourist attraction for families, complete with visitor's center, 3-D exhibition and guided tours through the excavations that include Warren's Shaft, ancient water systems such as Hezekiah's Tunnel and the Second Temple Pool.
The award-winning website of the City of David is available in English, Spanish, French, Russian and Hebrew: www.cityofdavid.org.il