The process of wet-sifting debris from excavations below Robinson’s Arch on the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount has revealed a 1st-century seal impression inscribed with “pure for the Lord.” Scholars believe that this mark was used to certify offerings as acceptable for temple use. The Aramaic inscription is about 3/4 of an inch (2 cm) in diameter and has six letters.

IMG_8833Photo: IAA/Vladimir Naykhin

Excavation directors Eli Shukron and Ronny Reich commented on the value of the object:

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that such an object or anything similar to it was discovered in an archaeological excavation and it constitutes direct archaeological evidence of the activity on the Temple Mount and the workings of the Temple during the Second Temple period.

The full press release includes more details from the Mishnah about ritual tokens. The Israel Antiquities Authority has also released five high-resolution photos of this and related discoveries (zip file).


Photo: IAA/Vladimir Naykhin

The Jerusalem Post has a three-minute video interview with Ronny Reich. The article’s statement that the inscription was found near the Pool of Siloam contradicts the official report of the IAA that the object was found next to the Temple Mount. The story is also reported by the AP, Reuters, and Arutz-7.


Photo: IAA/Vladimir Naykhin