Israeli archeologists have uncovered a rare set of well-preserved column heads assumed to be a part of a large mansion built during the First Temple Period. Archeologists discovered the capitals during an excavation at the Armon Hanatziv promenade in Jerusalem last week.
According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, the artifacts date from 960 B.C. and 586 B.C. Director Yaakov Billig believes the structure was built between the times of kings Hezekiah and Josiah.
“This is a very exciting discovery. This is a first-time discovery of scaled-down models of the giant Proto-Aeolian capitals… where they were incorporated above the royal palace gates,” Billig said.
“The level of workmanship on these capitals is the best seen to date, and the degree of preservation of the items is rare,” he continued.
CBN News reported that the stone artifacts were originally created out of limestone. Each column head features a symbol dating back to the biblical Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. A person can find the same symbol on Israel’s contemporary five shekel coin.
“At this point it is still difficult to say who hid the capitals in the way they were discovered… But there is no doubt that this is one of the mysteries at this unique site, to which we will try to offer a solution,” Billig added.
Along with the medium-sized stone capitals, archeologists also unearthed lavish window frames.
While excavators found the column heads in excellent condition, the rest of the building had been destroyed. Regardless, Billig said the discovery provides a glimpse into Jerusalem’s past. It also showed what life was like after Assyria conquered the city.
“This find… attests to a revival of the city and leaving the walled areas of the First Temple era after the Assyrian siege. We find villas, mansions, and government buildings in the unwalled areas outside the city. This attests to the relief felt by the residents of the city after the siege was lifted,” Billig claimed.
Hili Tropper, Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sport, agreed with Billig’s assessment. He said the uncovering of the artifacts “reflects the glorious roots of the Jewish people and our rich past…”
“I see great importance in the work of the Israel Antiquities Authority and in the work of the City of David in their discoveries over the years. The past is the cornerstone of a nation and the cornerstone of culture. Its discovery also affects the present as well as the future,” Tropper added.