Several dozen seal impressions have been discovered in excavations in the City of David. These bullae date to the period after the fall of the northern kingdom in 722 BC and the archaeologists suggest that the names on them may belong to refugees who immigrated to Jerusalem at that time.
The dozens of clay imprints were used on letters and documents which were bound by string and sealed by wet clay pressed with the sender’s mark or name. The impressive trove was discovered at recent digs uncovering three Late Iron Age buildings frozen in time by the destruction caused by the 586 BCE Babylonian siege. The discovery was made by a team of Israel Antiquity Authority archaeologists led by co-directors Dr. Joe Uziel and Ortal Chalaf.
Among the dozens of bullae is a rare find of an intact sealing, bearing the name “Ahiav ben (son of) Menahem,” referring to two kings of Israel but found in the capital of the Kingdom of Judah, Jerusalem.
According to co-director Ortal Chalaf, these Israelite names and other findings point to the possibility that after the destruction of Israel, refugees fled the Kingdom of Israel for the Kingdom of Judah, and settled in Jerusalem. After settling, the use of their names on official correspondence shows that these Israelites gained important roles in the Judaean administration, said Uziel.
“These names are part of the evidence that after the exile of the Tribes of Israel, refugees arrived in Jerusalem from the northern kingdom, and found their way into senior positions in Jerusalem’s administration,” according to the two co-directors.
The full story is here.