JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel on Wednesday unveiled a golden earring dating from the second or third century BC, found in the shadow of the Old City walls.
The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said the artifact, in the Hellenistic style and shaped like a horned animal, was found in October in the City of David National Park, between the Old City and the flashpoint Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan.
The find was not announced publicly until now to give archeologists time to study the find and publish an academic paper.
“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,” an IAA statement said, citing “the quality of the gold piece of jewelry”.
Following the conquest of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC, Jerusalem remained under Hellenist rule for the next 200 years.
“We do not know much about Jerusalem in the Hellenistic period,” Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University and co-director of the excavations told AFP.
“This opens a debate about the nature of Jerusalem’s population” at the time, he said.
The City of David is run as an archaeological park by hardline settler organisation Elad which seeks to bolster the Jewish presence in mainly Palestinian east Jerusalem.