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Newly Discovered Artifact proves Ancient Bethlehem’s Existence

May 24, 2012

A seal bearing the name “Bethlehem” in ancient Hebrew script. The Israel Antiquities Authority says archeologists digging at a Jerusalem site have found the oldest artifact that bears the inscription of Bethlehem – a 2,700 years old seal with the name of Jesus’ traditional birthplace. The clay seal, or bulla, was found in a Jerusalem dig. The seal is 1.5 centimeters (0.59 inches) in diameter and was most likely used to stamp tax shipments said Eli Shukron, the authority’s director of excavations. Photo courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The Jerusalem Post reports archaeologists have discovered the first proof of ancient Bethlehem.  The existence of a 2,700-year old clay seal slightly more than a half inch in diameter, discovered several months ago along with pottery from the same period, was announced by the Israel Antiquities Authority.  According to the Associated Press via Art Daily:

Shmuel Achituv, an expert in ancient scripts at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University who did not participate in the dig, said the discovery was the oldest reference to Bethlehem ever found outside of the Bible. Apart from the seal, the other mentions of Bethlehem, Achituv said, “are only in the Bible.”

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