An ancient limestone-made weight, dating to the Iron age – the First Temple period – was discovered in an archaeological excavation conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) in conjunction with the Western Wall Heritage Foundation beneath Wilson’s Arch, adjacent to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the IAA announced Tuesday..

The weight, corresponding to the known measurement unit of two shekalim, was retrieved during sifting of earthen fills by the City of David sifting project. The excavation is nearing its completion, unearthing fascinating discoveries soon to be included in the tour of the Western Wall Tunnels.

“How exciting, in the [Hebrew] month of Tishrei, whose symbol is the scales of justice, to find a souvenir from the First Temple period, enthused Mordechai (Suli) Eliav, director of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.

“Actually now, when coming to the Western Wall is so restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic, this finding strengthens the eternal connection between the Jewish nation, Jerusalem, and the Western Wall while offering us all encouragement,” he said.

According to Dr. Barak Monnickendam-Givon and Tehillah Lieberman, directors of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “the weight is dome-shaped with a flat base. On the top of the weight is an incised Egyptian symbol resembling a Greek gamma (γ), representing the abbreviated unit ‘shekel.’ Two incised lines indicate the double mass: two shekalim.

“One of the uses of the shekel weight system during the First Temple period was to collect an annual tax of half a shekel dedicated to the sacrifices and upkeep of the Temple. According to previous finds, the known weight of a single shekel is 11.5 grams, thus a double shekel should way 23 grams – exactly as this weight does.

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