Ancient Bethlehem seal unearthed in Jerusalem

 Catholic procession on Christmas Eve in Bethlehem, 2006. Photo by Darko Tepert, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

Catholic procession on Christmas Eve in Bethlehem, 2006. Photo by Darko Tepert, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

JERUSALEM (AP) – The Israel Antiquities Authority says archeologists digging at a Jerusalem site have found the oldest artifact that bears the inscription of Bethlehem — a 2,700-year-old seal with the name of Jesus’ traditional birthplace.

Eli Shukron, the authority’s director of excavations, says this is the first time the city’s name has appeared on an artifact from this period. The clay seal, or bulla, was found in a Jerusalem dig.

Shukron said on Wednesday the seal bears the ancient Hebrew script used during the period of the first biblical Jewish Temple. He says pottery found nearby dates back to the same period.

He says the seal is 1.5 centimeters (0.59 inches) in diameter and was most likely used to stamp tax shipments.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


 Catholic procession on Christmas Eve in Bethlehem, 2006. Photo by Darko Tepert, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

Catholic procession on Christmas Eve in Bethlehem, 2006. Photo by Darko Tepert, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.