An amethyst gemstone seal from the Second Temple period has a unique engraving: a bird and a branch with five fruits, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).
The 2,000-year-old seal was discovered in the bedrock foundations of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Israel.
The tiny artifact has a hole for the attachment of a metal wire enabling it to be worn as a ring.
It was examined by IAA archaeologist Dr. Eli Shukron, Professor Shua Amorai-Stark from Kaye Academic College of Education, Dr. Malka Hershkovitz from Jewish Institute of Religion, and their colleagues.
“Seals were used to sign documents and could also be fashionable items serving as jewelry,” the researchers said.
The amethyst seal is approximately 1 cm (0.4 inches) long and 0.5 cm (0.2 inches) wide.
It is engraved with a dove next to a thick, long, and fruit-bearing branch.
“The plant engraved on the stone may be the well-known persimmon plant mentioned in the Bible, Talmud, and historical sources,” the scientists said.
“The Biblical persimmon, which is not related to today’s orange persimmon fruit, is known from Biblical and historical sources.”
During the Second Temple period, the plant was used as one of the more expensive ingredients for producing the Temple incense, perfume, medicines, and ointments.
“This is an important find because it may be the first time a seal has been discovered with an engraving of the precious and famous plant, which until now we could only read about in historical descriptions,” Dr. Shukron said.
“This impressive seal provides a glimpse into the daily lives of the people who lived in the days of the Second Temple.”
This article is based on text provided by the Israel Antiquities Authority.