A 2,200-year-old golden earring was discovered at the City of David’s archaeological excavation just outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, shedding light on life in the city after it was conquered by the Greeks.
The rare artefact depicts the finely crafted head of a horned animal and delicate filigree work, and is believed to date back to the second or third century BC, a period during which the Temple was the centre of Jewish life, but the region was controlled by the Greeks and a significant percentage of the Jewish populace was influenced by Greek culture and beliefs.
During the time period the earring is believed to be connected, Judea was a semi-autonomous Hellenistic vassal first under the rule of Ptolemaic Egypt from 301 to 198 BCE, and then under the Seleucid Empire, after Antiochus III conquered Jerusalem. Shortly afterwards, Jews who were not Hellenized ultimately took part in the Maccabean Revolt of 167 BCE, which is commemorated in the Hanukkah story.
According to Professor Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University, co-director of the Givati Parking Lot excavation, the find is the first earring discovered in Jerusalem from the Hellenistic period, found in an early-Hellenistic-period building deep inside the dig.
The City of David centre will display the earring beginning in September.