3,000-Year-Old Gold Bead Unearthed in Israel

by johnsmith

A team of professional and amateur archaeologists from the Temple Mount Sifting Project has found a tiny gold bead from the First Temple period in Jerusalem, Israel.

The 3,000-year-old gold bead found in Jerusalem, Israel. Image credit: Temple Mount Sifting Project.

The 3,000-year-old gold bead found in Jerusalem, Israel. Image credit: Temple Mount Sifting Project.

“Pieces of gold jewelry are rarely found among archaeological artifacts from the First Temple period,” said Dr. Amir Golani, an archaeologist at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“Gold in that period was not refined and generally contained a significant percentage of silver.”

“In Ancient Egypt, gold was attributed magical significance due to its properties of shine and excellent preservation over time, qualities which bestowed on it connotations of eternity and connection with the Sun deity.”

“The Bible relates that the source of gold in the Land of Israel in Biblical times was South Arabia and Ophir, on the horn of Africa (Somalia),” he said.

“Gold may even have arrived in Israel from Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Greece, by way of Phoenician traders, although its main source was likely to have been Egypt.”

“The granulation technique was used for jewelry design in this period by attaching silver or gold balls, or granules, to one another or to a piece of metal in a 2- or 3-dimensional fashion.”

The 3,000-year-old gold bead. Image credit: Temple Mount Sifting Project.

The 3,000-year-old gold bead. Image credit: Temple Mount Sifting Project.

The newfound gold bead measures 6 mm by 4mm, and is roughly cylindrical, with a hole at its center.

The artifact is built of four layers each made of tiny gold balls adhered one to another in a flower shape.

“We found several similar items when we excavated burial systems from the First Temple period in Katef Hinom, next to the Menachem Begin Center,” said Professor Gaby Barkay, an archaeologist with Bar-Ilan University, Hebrew University the American Institute of Holy Land Studies, and the University of the Holy Land.

“There the beads were made of silver, but were identical in shape and in their manufacturing method, called granulation.”

“Beads of this type were also found in several other sites over the country, and the layers in which they were found were dated to various periods, from the 13th century BCE up to the 4th century BCE, with the overwhelming majority dating to the Iron Age (12th century BCE up to the 6th century BCE).”

“Several similar beads made of gold were also found in Megiddo, in Tel el-Ajjul and in Tel el-Farah, in layers dated to the 12th to 9th centuries BCE.”

“Various types of jewelry are mentioned in the Bible, and different suggestions have been made in the research of their identification, but the identity of most of the terms has yet to be settled,” the researchers said.

“The most detailed list of types of jewelry appears in the book of Isaiah (chapter 3 verses 18-23), where among others the netifot are mentioned.”

“The accepted meaning of this term is a pendant hanging from a necklace.”

“Nevertheless, in light of the information above, one could offer a new interpretation, being beads fashioned in the granulation technique, in which balls are formed by melting gold and creating from it drops.”

“The word netifot might have derived from the root n-t-f which refers to drops.”

“At this stage it is not clear to what purpose the bead we found served, whether it was part of an ornament worn by an important personage who visited the Temple, or by a priest.”

Source link: https://www.sci.news/archaeology/first-temple-period-gold-bead-09107.html

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