JERUSALEM, Israel – Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and Tel Aviv University archaeologists uncovered a 2,000-year-old gold earring while excavating a parking lot in the City of David National Park that encircles Jerusalem's Old City walls.
The beautifully crafted hoop earring, featuring a horned animal at the top, is the first of its kind found at a time when Jewish life centered around the Temple.
The team dated the earring to the second or third centuries BC during the Hellenistic period. They're excited about the find because it helps them understand the influence of Greek culture in Jerusalem at that time.
"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," said Tel Aviv University Professor Yuval Gadot and IAA archaeologist Dr. Yiftah Shalev, co-directors of the excavation in an IAA press release.
"It is unclear whether the gold earring was worn by a man or a woman, nor do we know their cultural or religious identity, but we can say for certain that whoever wore this earring definitely belonged to Jerusalem's upper class," they said.
Earrings like this have been unearthed in Greece and other areas in the Mediterranean basin, but Israeli archaeologists have found very few like this one, most of them along the coast.
What makes this earring unique is discovering it in Jerusalem. Archaeologists want to know more about what Jerusalem was like when Greek influence was so prevalent.
Photos, Israel Antiquities Authority