Who Was the "Hyrcanus" Engraved on a 2,100-Year-Old Bowl Found in Jerusalem?
A Stone Bowl from the Hasmonean Period Engraved with a Rare Hebrew Inscription –"Hyrcanus."
In 2015 a fragment of a chalk bowl was unearthed during the Israel Antiquities Authority's archaeological excavation at the Givati parking lot in the City of David, Jerusalem Walls National Park.
According to Dr. Doron Ben-Ami of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Professor Esther Eshel of Bar-Ilan University, "This is one of the earliest examples of chalk vessels that has been found in Jerusalem. Jews used stone vessels because they were considered vessels that could not become spiritually impure."
"Hyrcanus" was a common name during the Hasmonean period, but who was the "Hyrcanus" engraved on this 2,100-year-old bowl? Was he a high-ranking person or an ordinary citizen? According to researchers, it is difficult to ascertain since few vessels in this period were engraved with names, and it is unknown whether this type of engraving was a routine act or a special tribute.
"The name Hyrcanus was fairly common in the Hasmonean period," said Dr. Ben-Ami and Prof Eshel. "We know of at least two persons from this period with this name: John Hyrcanus, the grandson of Matityahu the Hasmonean, who ruled Judea from 135–104 BCE, and John Hyrcanus II, the son of Alexander Jannaeus and Salome Alexandra״. However, it is not possible to determine if the bowl belonged to either of them.
The bowl was discovered beneath the foundations of a miqwe ( a ritual bath) dating to the Hasmonean period. The Givati Parking Lot excavations in the City of David sponsored by the Ir David Foundation are among the largest excavations in Jerusalem and have uncovered a wealth of artifacts from different periods.
In addition to these finds, the excavations at the site uncovered remains of the famous Greek (Seleucid) Akra, a fortress built by Antiochus IV Epiphanes to control the city and monitor the Jewish Temple that the Hasmoneans later conquered. Interestingly, the bowl was found a short distance from where the remains of the Akra were revealed.
# Jewish History # City of David # Jerusalem # Israeli Archaeology
Selina 22:03 29.09.2021
I agree Hyracanus was a common name. Engraving someones name in a household item like a bowl, was probably done often, as a gift. The fact it was found near a mikveh is most likely coincidental.
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