List of Seals Found in Israel/Palestine

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This page attempts to chronologically list the mud or clay seals (bullae) found during archaeological excavations in Israel/Palestine. A bulla is an inscribed or impressed clay or mud (and in some cases metal) token used in commercial and legal documentation as a form of authentication and for tamper-proofing.

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Home > List of Seals Found in Israel/Palestine

Aramaic/Hebrew

circa 1450 BCE

HLHM Ostracon
The HLHM ostracon or Halaham Inscription, found during the excation of an ancient Egyption tomb in Thebes, is a a fragment of limestone inscribed on the two sides with lines of hieratic and hieroglyphic characters in blank ink. The flake of limestone (ostracon) inscribed with an ancient Egyptian word list of the fifteenth century BCE turns out to be the world's oldest known abecedary.

circa 720 BCE

King Ahaz Seal
Seal of King Ahaz, the seal contains an ancient Hebrew inscription mentioning the name of Ahaz of Judah, as well as the name of his father, Yehotam (Jotham), identifying Ahaz as the "king of Judah". The bulla contains a fingerprint which may belong to Ahaz himself.

circa 710 BCE

Hezekiah Bulla
The stamped clay seal belonging to Hezekiah, also known as a bulla, was discovered in the Ophel excavations led by Dr. Eilat Mazar at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The bulla measures just over a centimeter in diameter bears a seal impression depicting a two-winged sun disk flanked by ankh symbols and containing a Hebrew inscription that reads “Belonging to Hezekiah, (son of) Ahaz, king of Judah.”

circa 710 BCE

Bulla of Hezekiah's Servant
Stamped clay bulla sealed by a servant of King Hezekiah, formerly pressed against a cord; unprovenanced Redondo Beach collection of antiquities.

circa 700 BCE

Isaiah Bulla
Dubbed as "Bulla of Isaiah" it may not have belonged to the Biblical prophet Isaiah. According to Mazar "Without an aleph at the end, the word nvy is most likely just a personal name."

circa 700 BCE

Jerusalem Governor Bulla
The Seal of the Governor. The artefact, inscribed in an ancient Hebrew script as “belonging to the governor of the city”, was likely attached to a shipment or sent as a souvenir on behalf of the governor. The impression, the size of a small coin, depicts two standing men, facing each other in a mirror-like manner and wearing striped garments reaching down to their knees. It was unearthed near the plaza of Judaism’s Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

circa 700 BCE

Bethlehem Bulla
The Bethlehem Bulla. According to Eli Shukron, “it seems that in the seventh year of the reign of a king (it is unclear if the king referred to here is Hezekiah, Manasseh or Josiah), a shipment was dispatched from Bethlehem to the king in Jerusalem dating back to late eighth and seventh centuries BCE." This is the first time the name Bethlehem appears outside the Bible, in an inscription from the First Temple period.

circa 605 BCE

Seal of Azariah
The inscription on the seal of Azariah (IAA 1984-165 (Azariah son of Hilkiah)) reads:
(Belonging) to 'Azaryahu
son of Hilqiyahu

circa 600 BCE

Baruch Bulla
The mud-seal known as the Baruch Bulla, was discovered in 1975 and subsequently studied by Israeli archaeologist Nahman Avigad. Dated to the late 7th or early 6th century BCE, the bulla measures 17 by 16 mm, and is stamped with an oval seal, 13 by 11 mm. A single line borders the impression, and it is divided by double horizontal lines into three registers and . Line 1: lbrkyhw: Belonging to Berechiah, Line 2: bn nryhw: son of Neriah, Line 3: hspr: The scribe.

circa 600 BCE

Yehuchal Seal
The Seal of Yehuchal (or Jehucal) ben Shelemyahu (Shelemiah) is dated to the beginning of the 6th century BCE and bears the name of Yehuchal ben Shelemayahu an official named in the Bible in conjunction was the prophet's doomsday prophecy.

circa 585 BCE

Gedaliah Seal
According to Mazar, the seal of Gedaliah dates to the final years of the first temple period, during the reign of king Zedekiah, Judah's last king. Three years ago, Mazar also found the seal of Jucal the son of Shelemiah in a nearby location. Jucal is also mentioned as one of Jeremiah's accusers in the same passage.

circa 500 BCE

Sa'aryahu Seal
This First Temple period seal found in the Givati Parking Lot excavations belonged to a man named Sa‘aryahu (or Sa‘adyahu) ben Shabenyahu. Seal inscriptions were written in reverse; this image has been mirrored to facilitate the reading of the seal.

circa 500 BCE

Elihana Seal
The Seal of Elihana (or Alyana), is said to date back to the period of the First Temple. This particular seal shows that “the owner of the seal was exceptional compared to other women” of the time period. “She had legal status which allowed her to conduct business and possess property.”

circa 586 BCE

Gemariah Seal
East of the House of Ahiel, under the modern pathway, was an archive house, the seal found there bears the name of Gemariah son of Shaphan the scribe - a high ranking officer in the court of King Jehoiakim.

circa 700 BCE

Seal of Ga’alyahu
Seal of Ga’alyahu son of Immer (possibly). Made of clay it was originally attached to a document or a parcel, and is black in color as a result of being burned. According to Dr. Gabriel Barkay, "The letters preserved on the middle register are “ליהו” “…lyhw” while the bottom register reads “אמר…” “…)mr”. In light of another published seal, it may be possible to complete the writing as “לגא]ליהו.[בן]אמר]” (Belonging to Ga’alyahu son of Immer)".

circa 700 BCE

Seal of Matanyahu
The Seal of Matanyahu, its a personal Hebrew seal from the end of the First Temple period was discovered on the floor of the ancient building. The seal is made of a semi-precious stone and is engraved with the name of its owner: “Lematanyahu Ben Ho…” meaning: “Belonging to Matanyahu Ben Ho…”). The rest of the inscription is erased."

circa 700 BCE

circa 700 BCE

Achiav Bulla
The Bulla of Achiav ben Menachem. These two names are known in the context of the Kingdom of Israel: Menachem was a king of Israel, while Achiav does not appear in the Bible, but his name resembles that of Achav (Ahab), the infamous king of Israel from the tales of the prophet Elijah. Though the spelling of the name differs somewhat, it appears to be the same name, mentioned by Josephus in his book as well.

circa 700 BCE

Menorah Seal
The Menorah Seal. This Lead bullae, due to the symbol on it, clearly was probably used by a high priest, or one of the leaders of the wars against Rome. The authenticity of this lead bulla is not known, it may very well be a fake.

Arabic

circa 790 CE

Kareem Amulet
The amulet was uncovered in the flooring of an Abbasid-period structure (circa 9th-10th centuries CE), alongside several examples of pottery sherds and an almost entirely intact oil lamp, upon which black soot attests to its everyday use. The size of the object, its shape, and the text on it indicate that it was apparently used as an amulet for blessing and protection.

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