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An exceptional 2700-year old structure was recently unearthed between Talpiot and Ramat Rachel in the Arnona neighborhood, outside of the Old City of Jerusalem.  Evidence suggests it operated as an administrative center and storage facility during the reigns of Hezekiah and Manasseh in the 8th-7th centuries BC.   Over 120 jar handles stamped with ancient Hebrew scripts were uncovered, including numerous handles inscribed with LMLK (“Belonging to the King”).  The site’s location and the large number of seal impressions suggests that some of Judah’s administration occurred outside of the City of David during this time period.  In addition, a collection of clay idols and figurines depicting women and animals was also found at the site, likely indicating idolatry, a practice that, according to Scripture, was prevalent in Judah during the Iron Age.  The complex appears to have been abandoned after the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC, but was resettled in the Persian-era, after the exiles returned, and administrative activity resumed.


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