The Israeli government's Antiquities Authority oversaw the excavation in the southern Jerusalem village of Umm Tuba. The agency said its archaeologists unearthed the remains of an ancient building consisting of several rooms arranged around a courtyard, containing pottery and other artifacts from the First and Second Temple Periods.
|Ezechias-Hezekiah was the son of Ahaz and the 14th king of Judah. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The finds include official government seals bearing the names of Ahimelekh ben Amadyahu and Yehokhil ben Shahar, who were high-ranking officials in Hezekiah's government. The life of Hezekiah, the son of King Ahaz is detailed in the biblical books of Kings, Isaiah and Chronicles. Hezekiah was the 13th king of independent Judah.
Archaeologists also found a Hebrew inscription – dating 600 years after the Kingdom of Judah seals – on a fragment of a jar neck, characteristic of the beginning of the Hasmonean period. The ancient building was partially destroyed during the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem.
The finds are the latest in a mountain of unearthed remains giving a clearer picture of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem during the First and Second Temple periods. Still, the Palestinian Authority, which seeks control of the Temple Mount and eastern Jerusalem, steadfastly denies the Jewish temples ever existed.
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|Old Jerusalem during the 2nd Temple period (Photo credit: susie.c)|