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      Jewish Presence in the Land of Israel of Yesteryear

      Dramatic findings from the First and Second Temple periods have been uncovered of late in Antiquities Authority digs in the Nachal Toot area.
      By IsraelNationalNews Staff
      First Publish: 7/11/2005, 3:36 PM / Last Update: 7/11/2005, 6:22 PM

      Arutz-7’s Kobi Finkler reports that the digs, taking place near Yokne’am in the western Galilee, have revealed the existence of an impressive administrative center from the First Temple period, which ended some 2,500 years ago. In addition, remnants of dense housing in a Jewish village from the Second Temple period – 2,000 years ago – have been found. The Jewish village is thought to have been destroyed at the same time as the Temple, around the year 70 C.E.

      The village was found relatively intact, with upright walls and their windows and openings in place. The buildings are clearly laid out around a central yard and a ritual bath (mikveh).

      Among the artifacts found at the site are clay pottery, stone utensils and metal objects. Most notable was a Jewish signet with three bands. The signet features a light brown oval-shaped stone, a centimeter in width and a bit more in length. A hole pierced through its middle indicates that it was worn around the neck as a pendant.

      On the top band is engraved four pomegranates, while old Hebrew writing can be seen on the lower two bands. The name Amichai [My People Lives] can be seen – probably the father of the owner of the ring. The name of the owner himself, who was apparently a clerk in the administration, also appears to be written, spelled with the letters Lamed, Mem, Kuf, Aleph, Het.

      Dr. David Amit of the Antiquities Authority, who was able to interpret the writing together with Dr. Esther Eshel of Bar Ilan University, said that the names Makah and Amichai, which are written on the ring, are new additions to the treasury of known names from early times. “The importance of the ring lies in its contribution to our list of names,” Dr. Amit said. “In addition, this ring is unique in that it was found in an archaeological dig, and not from antiquities collectors.”

      The dig was carried out at the request of the Trans Israel Highway Company, which wants to continue Highway 6 - Israel's only toll road - northwards from its present route.

      Another find from the dig includes several handles broken from jugs that were used to store food and liquid. The words “for the king” appear, as well as the names of the cities Hevron and Zif, which were important Judean administrative cities at the end of the First Temple period.