A Relic from Solomon’s Temple? Rare 3,000-Year-Old Seal Discovered on Temple Mount

Temple Mount Seal-compressedJERUSALEM – A 3,000-year-old seal discovered on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount likely dates back to the times of David and Solomon and confirms the credibility of the Bible’s historical record.

Since 2004, the Temple Mount Sifting Project has combed through tons of soil that was illegally removed from the Temple Mount by an Islamic group in 1999. The Sifting Project has recruited over 170,000 volunteers through the years to carefully search through the excavated earth and look for artifacts.

“Since the Temple Mount has never been excavated, the ancient artifacts retrieved in the Sifting Project provide valuable and previously inaccessible information,” explains the project’s website. “The many categories of finds are among the largest and most varied ever found in Jerusalem.”

Volunteers sifting through the soil have unearthed thousands of artifacts. The finds from the project are all preserved for processing and scientific analysis.

Late last month, the Sifting Project announced that one particularly rare artifact was recently discovered: a 3,000-year-old seal dating to the period of the biblical kings David and Solomon. In a press release, the project said a 10-year-old boy from Russia discovered the seal, and archaeologists only recently deciphered it.

“The seal is the first of its kind to be found in Jerusalem,” the Sifting Project’s press release says. “The dating of the seal corresponds to the historical period of the Jebusites and the conquest of Jerusalem by King David, as well as the construction of the Temple and the royal official compound by his son, King Solomon.”

The seal is made of limestone, and upon its base appear the images of two animals. The seal, which was likely used to seal documents, is perforated, thus enabling one to hang it from a string.

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“What makes this discovery particularly significant is that it originated from upon the Temple Mount itself,” explains the press release.

The seal’s discovery also suggests that administrative activity took place upon the Temple Mount during those times.

Even more importantly, though, the seal confirms the Bible’s historical descriptions of King David, King Solomon, and the Temple. Some archaeologists have claimed that the Temple’s construction and Jerusalem’s expansion did not occur when the Bible says they did. Yet the discovery of this ancient seal undermines these theories.

“Recent finds from other excavations, including the Ophel (south of the Temple Mount), the City of David, as well as those from the Temple Mount Sifting Project, weaken the minimalists theories and indicate that the descriptions found within the Biblical text relating to expansion of Jerusalem may, in fact, be authentic,” the Sifting Project’s coordinators stated.

Even though artifacts processed by the Sifting Project have been extracted from their archaeological context, archaeologists are able to date and identify them by comparing them with those found at other sites.

“In recent years, using newly developed statistical methodologies and technologies we have managed to overcome the challenge of having finds with no exact context since they were not recovered in a proper archaeological excavation,” the Sifting Project’s release says.

More than half a million finds from the Temple Mount are waiting to be processed and analyzed, so additional discoveries may be forthcoming.

Photo: Temple Mount Sifting Project

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  • MamaBear

    I expect as more artifacts from the Temple Mount Sifting Project are found and evaluated, there will be more confirmation of the Bible from archaeology.

    • WorldGoneCrazy

      Could you share with us what resources you have used to get so educated in Biblical Archaeology, MamaBear? You told me the name of the best journal once, but I have misplaced it. Perhaps a short list of books, journals and/ or websites for the novice?

      • MamaBear

        Biblical Archaeology Review is written by professionals for ordinary people interested in archaeology. Warning, do not expect it to be always supportive of the Biblical record, plus many archaeologists disagree with each other in interpretations of their findings. BAR also has a website.
        I’ve read a lot of books over the years. Best book I have found for a general overview of the subject is the one I just read, The Stones Cry Out. He shows how well archaeology supports the Bible. Avoid Finkelstein, he is a minimalist.

        • WorldGoneCrazy

          Thank you for the reminders – I should have remembered them since you made them so recently, but age is setting in. Nevertheless, other readers on this site may find your recommendations helpful. God bless!

          • archaeologist

            we can only hope you were being sarcastic wgc.

          • KevinWarren

            I see nothing in WGC’s response that could be construed as sarcastic. Why do you say that?

          • archaeologist

            because the person he or she was responding to knows very little about archaeology

          • Names_Stan

            we can only hope you were being sarcastic wgc.

            To be fair to WGC (and most posters here), you shouldn’t find it surprising that they want to get their science from someone who begins with the answers already in mind.

            While that’s not the way I’m sure you do science, nor should it be, most people need information that falls only inside their framework/worldview.

            I think it’s also fair to say that Jewish and Christian archaeologists who do this aren’t the only culprits. It’s a fairly safe bet there are those who are secular who resist conclusions of biblical confirmation.

            As with so many things in life, the evidence points to “truth” being in the middle. So while evidence of the size of exodus/armies/Solomon’s reign, etc, is not supported, neither is evidence of no Isrealite activity prior to the 7th century BCE as others claim.

            Just my take on it.

          • MamaBear

            Biblical Archeology Review takes no stand on either supporting or denying the Bible. The articles are by respected professionals in the field irregardless of whether they are Christian, Jewish, or no faith at all.

          • Names_Stan

            Thank you for the reply. I wasn’t intending to make any value judgements of any sites (or individuals for that matter).

            My point was that cognitive bias exists in every person. While it may be easier to spot in scientists who need particular answers due to revenue pressure or belief, it’s still present in secular scholars as well.

            Also as the poster I was responding to shows us, the secular scientists can be quite dismissive of others.
            But Christians who boast certainty with little knowledge of the scholarship harm our side as well.

          • ppp777

            ” B C E ” , Its obvious where your coming from .

          • Names_Stan

            From academia? Correct.

    • KevinWarren

      Unfortunately, even with all the evidence, many people dig in their heels and refuse to accept the fact that the world as described in the Bible is historically accurate.

      • Michael Todd

        And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. (Luke 16:31)