Archaeologists’ discovery of a 2,200-year-old gold earring in excavations near Jerusalem’s Old City has offered a rare glimpse of life in the holy city during the early Hellenistic period, an era of the city about which very little is knownThe spectacular gold earring, shaped like a horned animal, dates back to the second or third century BCE and was discovered during archaeological digs by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and Tel Aviv University at the Givati Parking Lot in the City of David National Park encircling the Old City‘s walls. Experts assess that the earring, which bears the head of a horned animal — possibly an antelope or deer — was crafted using a technique known as filigree, in which threads and tiny metal beads are used to create delicate and complex patterns, a style which first appeared in Greece during the early Hellenistic period. Similar earrings have been found across the Mediterranean, but are extremely rare in Israel.
“The jewelry was found inside a building that was unearthed during the excavation, dating to the early Hellenistic period—a fascinating era about which we know very little when it comes to Jerusalem,” according to the directors of the excavation, Professor Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University and Dr. Yiftah Shalev of the Antiquities Authority.“During the course of over a century of archaeological digs in the city, many small discoveries have been made from this period—mainly consisting of pottery fragments and a few coins—but hardly any remains of buildings that could be accurately dated to this period,” they said.
Nearby, excavators also found a gold bead with intricately embroidered ornamentation resembling a thin rope pattern, dividing the beads into two parts with six spirals on each side.
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