An exciting archaeological discovery uncovered in Jerusalem was presented for the first time Tuesday at a press conference of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and the Israel Museum. It is a stone inscription from the Second Temple period (1st century BCE), which marks Jerusalem's name in Hebrew letters in full spelling - as is written today.

The inscription was discovered last winter near Binyanei Ha’uma in the capital, in an excavation conducted by IAA archaeologist Danit Levy before the paving of a new road. During the excavation foundations of a building from the Roman period that was supported by column sections were exposed. The crowning glory was a round stone column that was incorporated into the Roman building repeatedly with an Aramaic inscription in Hebrew letters, typical of the Second Temple period, around the reign of Herod.

This is the language of the exposed inscription:

Hananiah Bar
From Jerusalem

The Jerusalem Archaeologist at the Antiquities Authority, Dr. Yuval Baruch, and Prof. Roni Reich of the University of Haifa, who read and studied the inscription, say that "the inscriptions from the First and Second Temples that mention the name ‘Yerushalem / Yerushalayim [Jerusalem] are very rare. They said it is rare to find the name Jerusalem in full script as is customary today. “In fact, this is the only stone inscription from the Second Temple period recognized in studies, which mentions the name Jerusalem in full spelling.”

כתובת ירושליםהגג הכחול באדיבות מוזיאון ישראל

“Such an occurrence is known only once during the Second Temple period, on a coin from the time of the Great Revolt against the Romans (66-70 CE). The scarcity of the name in the full spelling is also evident from the Bible, where the city appears 660 times, and only in 5 cases, relatively later, is the spelling full.”

"The archeological context of the inscription does not suggest a solution to the question of on which building it was originally inscribed, or who Hananiah bar Dudalus was, but it is likely that he was a potter, son of a pottern, who adopted a nickname from Greek mythology, after Dedalus, the legendary artist," said Dudi Mevorach, a senior archaeologist at the Israel Museum. “It is interesting that he chose to add to his family lineage his origin from neighboring Jerusalem, as well.”