Tuesday, May 27, 2014

One Day Late but...

The Pope would have been excited:

An 800-Year Old Lead Seal Stamped by the Monastery of St. Sabas was Found in Archaeological Excavations carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Bayit VeGan Neighborhood in Jerusalem.  Archaeologists believe a farmstead discovered during excavations may have been part of the monastery’s property during the Crusader Period

...The seal was unearthed a year and a half ago...at the Horbat Mizmil antiquities site in the Bayit VeGan neighborhood in Jerusalem. These revealed the remains of a farmstead constructed during the Byzantine period (fifth–sixth centuries CE). The site, was abandoned at the end of the Byzantine period, and resettled during the Crusader period (eleventh–twelfth centuries CE), reaching its maximum size during the Mamluk period (thirteenth–fifteenth centuries CE).

The artifacts discovered during the excavations reflected daily life in the farmstead. Surprisingly, while processing the excavation finds a rare lead seal dating to the Crusader period came to light. The seal or bulla as it is known in Latin, was affixed to a letter, and was meant to ensure the document would not be opened by unauthorized persons. The bulla consisted of two blank lead disks and had a string that passed through a channel between them. In sealing the letter these were pressed together with a pincher shaped object with dies, creating the double faced seal.

The 800 year old seal is in excellent condition. A figure is discernible on the obverse side of the seal and the reverse bears an inscription in Greek...

The seal, shows a bearded bust of a saint wearing a himation and holding a cross in his right hand and the Gospel (?) in his left hand. Surrounding it is a Greek inscription naming the saint: “Saint Sabas”. On the back of the bulla appears another longer Greek inscription “This is the seal of the Laura of the Holy Sabas”.


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