Photo by Israel Antiquities Authority/Israel Sun A general view of the site.  A Strong Woman – the First Temple Period Version: A Rare 2,500 Year Old Seal Bearing the Name “Elihana bat Gael” was Discovered in Excavations of the Israel Antiquities Authority at the City of David, in the Jerusalem Walls National Park Another seal belonging to a man named “Sa‘aryahu ben Shabenyahu” was found nearby According to the excavation directors, “the owner of the seal was exceptional compared to other women of the First Temple period: she had legal status which allowed her to conduct business and possess property” Who were Elihana bat Gael and Sa‘aryahu ben Shabenyahu? Two seals bearing Hebrew names were uncovered in a large building dating to the First Temple period in excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is carrying out in the Giv‘ati parking lot at the City of David, in the Jerusalem Walls National Park. “Finding seals that bear names from the time of the First Temple is hardly a commonplace occurrence, and finding a seal that belonged to a woman is an even rarer phenomenon”, said the researchers.  According to archaeologists, Dr. Doron Ben-Ami, Yana Tchekhanovets and Salome Cohen, excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, explain, “Personal seals, such as those of Elihana and Sa‘aryahu, were used for signing documents, and were frequently inlaid as part of a ring that was worn by the owner. In antiquity they designated the identity, genealogy and status of the owner of the seal”. On the rare woman’s seal, which is made of semi-precious stone, appears the mirror-writing of “to Elihana bat Gael”, inscribed in ancient Hebrew letters. The female owner of the ring is mentioned here together with the name of her father. The second seal that was exposed in the excavation was also in mirror-writing and bears the inscription “to Sa‘aryahu ben Shabenyahu”. The name Sa‘aryahu appears on a sherd from Arad, an

(Photo by Israel Antiquities Authority/Israel Sun)
A general view of the excavation site

A rare 2,500 seal bearing the name of a woman has been discovered in the excavation of an ancient Jerusalem site.

Archaeologists found the antique – a seal bearing the inscription which translates as “to Elihana bat Gael”, in the City of David, in the Jerusalem Walls National Park.

A seal bearing the inscription: “to Elihana bat Gael”. ( (Photo by Israel Antiquities Authority/Israel Sun)

A seal bearing the inscription: “to Elihana bat Gael”. ( (Photo by Israel Antiquities Authority/Israel Sun)

Dating back to the period of the First Temple, excavation directors from the Israel Antiquities Authority said “the owner of the seal was exceptional compared to other women” of the time period. “She had legal status which allowed her to conduct business and possess property.”

A seal bearing the inscription Sa‘aryahu ben Shabenyahu”.  (Photo by Israel Antiquities Authority/Israel Sun)

A seal bearing the inscription Sa‘aryahu ben Shabenyahu”. (Photo by Israel Antiquities Authority/Israel Sun)

Another seal belonging to a man named “Sa‘aryahu ben Shabenyahu” was found nearby.

“Finding seals that bear names from the time of the First Temple is hardly a commonplace occurrence and finding a seal that belonged to a woman is an even rarer phenomenon”, said a researcher.
According to Dr. Doron Ben-Ami, Yana Tchekhanovets and Salome Cohen, all archaeologists, the seals “were used for signing documents, and were frequently inlaid as part of a ring that was worn by the owner. In antiquity they designated the identity, genealogy and status of the owner of the seal”.