Photo by Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images
Israeli archaeologists from one of the most controversial excavation sites in the Holy Land announced a rare discovery today: a clay seal that appears to have a link to rituals performed in the Jewish Temple about 2,000 years ago. The seal reads, in Aramaic, "pure for God."
The seal is from the period between 1st century B.C. to 70 A.D., the latter year being when the second Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. The AP explains that archaeological discoveries having a direct link to the temple are rare, especially because the the site on which the temple was located (referred to by Jews as the Temple Mount) - is also the location of the Noble Sanctuary, the third holiest site in Sunni Islam. It's off-limits to archaeologists because of the site's intense importance and controversy.
The dig that discovered the seal (the City of David dig) is not free from conflict itself: funded by a group associated with Israeli settlements, the site is located in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan.
According to the AP, the archaeologists believe that the seal was used to indicate approval of an object for use in a ritual.