Today, the IAA [Israel Antiquities Authority], published great archeological findings from around Jerusalem. While preparing the infrastructures for a new neighborhood, archaeologists uncovered a very large collection of royal Kingdom of Judah seal impressions at a massive First Temple-period public tax collection and storage complex. It is close enough to the Old City of Jerusalem [less than 2 miles] and near the new United States Embassy in Jerusalem. Archaeologist Neri Sapir [IAA, co-director of the excavation] says the main Iron Age structure is exceptional in terms of both its size and architectural style. Over 120 jar handles stamped 2,700 years ago ~ the reigns of Judean kings Hezekiah and Menashe (8th century to the middle of the 7th century BCE) ~ with ancient Hebrew script seal impressions were discovered at the site, which may indicate the location’s use as a storage and tax center.
Prevalent among the stamped inscriptions is “LMLK,” “LamMeLeKh,” or “Belonging to the King,” a way of marking that the foodstuffs stored in the jars had been tithed to the Judean ruler. “There are signs that governmental activity managed and distributed food supplies not only for shortage but administered agricultural surplus amassing commodities and wealth,” said IAA excavation co-directors Sapir and Nathan Ben-Ari in a press release Wednesday. This trove of LMLK seal impressions adds to the over 2,000 similar seals previously discovered at excavations and allows archaeologists to rethink the administrative and tax collection systems of the Kingdom of Judah. “This is one of the most significant discoveries from the period of the Kings in Jerusalem made in recent years. At the site we excavated, there are signs that governmental activity managed and distributed food supplies not only for shortage but administered agricultural surplus amassing commodities and wealth,” said IAA excavation co-directors Sapir and Nathan Ben-Ari in a press release Wednesday.