Biblical Archaeology Review 45:1, January/February 2019

Strata: Golden Earring from Jerusalem

A rare gold earring dating to the second or third century B.C.E. was unearthed during an excavation in Jerusalem. Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and Tel Aviv University were digging in the Givati Parking Lot in the City of David National Park when they found a hoop earring that depicted the head of a horned animal—perhaps an antelope or a deer. A gold bead with embroidered ornamentation was also found near the 2,200-year-old earring.

According to Haifa University specialists Ariel Polokoff and Adi Erlich, who examined the gold earring and bead, the pieces seem to have been created in the filigree technique, in which complex patterns are crafted from delicate threads and beads.

Although the dig directors Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University and Yiftah Shalev of the IAA can’t say for now whether the earring belonged to a man or woman or what the owner’s cultural or religious identity was, they can surmise that the owner was a member of the elite. The rare discovery also gives researchers a glimpse into Hellenistic-period Jerusalem.

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