The find will be exhibited to the public for the first time in the free Jerusalem Day conference arranged by the Israel Antiquities Authority – “Jerusalem Mysteries – The Archaeology of Jerusalem”.

A gold ring set with a precious stone dating from the early Hellenistic period was recently found in the joint Israel Antiquities Authority-Tel Aviv University excavation in the City of David, part of the Jerusalem Walls National Park, with the support of the Elad Foundation. The find will be exhibited to the public in the free “Jerusalem Mysteries” conference hosted by the Israel Antiquities Authority on Jerusalem Day, in the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel. Details may be found on the Israel Antiquities Authority website. The ring I made of gold and set with a red precious stone, apparently a garnet. As gold is a very refined material is is exceedingly well-preserved, and since its last use 2300 years ago it accumulated no rust nor suffered other weathering of time.

This special ring was recently by discovered by Tehiya Gangate, a City of David excavation team member, while she was sifting excavated earth. “I was sifting earth through the screen and suddenly saw something glitter,” she recounts. “I immediately yelled, ‘I found a ring, I found a ring!’ Within seconds everyone gathered around me, and there was great excitement. This is an emotionally moving find, not the kind you find every day. In truth I always wanted to find gold jewelry, and I am very happy this dream came true- literal a week before I went on maternity leave.”

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Dr. Yiftah Shalev and Riki Zalut Har-tov, Israel Antiquities Authority Excavation Directors, said:

“The ring is very small. It would fit a woman’s pinky, or a young girl or boy’s finger. Dr. Marion Zindel says the ring was manufactured by hammering thin pre-cut gold leaves onto a metal ring base. Stylistically it reflects the common fashion of the Persian and Early Hellenistic periods, dating from the late 4th to early 3rd century BCE and onwards. In that period people began to prefer gold with set stones rather than decorated gold”

Professor Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University and excavator Efrat Bocher note, “The recently-found gold ring joins other ornaments of the early Hellenistic period found in the City of David excavations, including the horned-animal earring and the decorated gold bead.” The scholars point out, “The Givati Parking Lot excavation finds are beginning to paint a new picture of the nature and stature of Jerusalem’s inhabitants in the Early Hellenistic Period. Whereas in the past we found only a few structures and finds from this era, and thus most scholars assumed Jerusalem was then a small town, limited to the top of the southeastern slope (“City of David”) and with relatively very few resources, these new finds tell a different story: The aggregate of revealed structures now constitute an entire neighborhood. They attest to both domestic and public buildings, and that the city extended from the hilltop westward. The character of the buildings – and now of course, the gold finds and other discoveries, display the city’s healthy economy and even its elite status. It certainly seems that the city’s residents were open to the widespread Hellenistic style and influences prevalent also in the eastern Mediterranean Basin.”

Gold jewelry was well-known in the Hellenistic world, from Alexander the Great’s reign onward. His conquests helped spread and transport luxury goods and products. Often jewelry decorations were drawn from mythological figures or significant symbolic events. Eli Escusido, Israel Antiquities Authority Head, comments that “The excavation in ancient Jerusalem reveals invaluable information to us about our past. In honor of Jerusalem Day we are happy to invite the public to attend, free of charge, an evening dedicated to Fascinating discoveries in Jerusalem.