A 2,600-year-old seal bearing the name of an official in the court of a First Temple period king of Judah was discovered in the City of David in Jerusalem.
The seal reads “(belonging) to Nathan-Melech, Servant of the King.”
It was discovered during an archaeological dig inside a large public building that was destroyed in the sixth century BCE — likely during the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE.
Large stone debris, burnt wooden beams and numerous charred pottery shards also were discovered in the building, all indications that they had survived an immense fire.
The dig was conducted by archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority and Tel Aviv University.
The stamp and its seal impression that were discovered in the dig are each about one centimetre in size.
The name Nathan-Melech appears once in the Bible, in the second book of Kings 23:11, where he is described as an official in the court of King Josiah, who took part in the religious reform that the king was implementing.
“Since many of the well-known bullae and stamps have not come from organised archaeological excavations but rather from the antiquities market, the discovery of these two artefacts in a clear archaeological context that can be dated is very exciting,” Prof. Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University and Dr. Yiftah Shalev of the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement.