Although we didn’t recognize it at the time, during our recent excavation of the City of David we uncovered a wine decanter that may have graced the table of a high royal official of one of the last kings of Judah.
This is not simply idle speculation. We know that the vessel is a wine decanter because a similar vessel from Lachish bears an ink inscription identifying its contents as a particular type of wine.1 We know that it dates to the reign of one of the last kings of Judah because it was found in Stratum 10b at the City of David, which contains the remains of the city just before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar. You will recall that the Babylonians, under Nebuchadnezzar, after twice laying siege to Jerusalem, finally captured it in 586 B.C.E. Nebuchadnezzar’s army then pillaged the city, destroying the Temple and sending the inhabitants off to exile in Babylonia.2