A 1,500-year-old seal with the image of the seven-branched Temple Menorah has been discovered near the city of Acre.
The ceramic stamp, which dates from the Byzantine period in the 6th century CE, was found during ongoing Israel Antiquities Authority excavations at Horbat Uza, east of Acre, which are being undertaken before the construction of the Acre-Carmiel railroad track.
It is thought the stamp was used to mark baked goods, and is known as a “bread stamp.”
“A number of stamps bearing an image of a menorah are known from different collections. The Temple Menorah, being a Jewish symbol par excellence, indicates the stamps belonged to Jews, unlike Christian bread stamps with the cross pattern which were much more common in the Byzantine period,” said Gilad Jaffe and Dr. Danny Syon, the directors of the excavation, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority,
According to the excavation directors, this was the first time that a stamp of this kind has been found in a controlled archaeological excavation, meaning that it is possible to determine where it comes from and when it was made.
“The stamp is important because it proves that a Jewish community existed in the settlement of Uza in the Christian-Byzantine period. The presence of a Jewish settlement so close to Acre - a region that was definitely Christian at this time - constitutes an innovation in archaeological research,” Syon said.
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