An ancient 1,600-year-old bead made of pure gold was discovered in dirt during an archeological dig in the City of David in the heart of Jerusalem, removed from a Roman structure in Emek Tzurim National Park.
The unique bead was found when a volunteer, 18-year-old Hallel Fiedman, was working at a sifting station when she spotted the small object.
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According to a release on the find, Fidman said, “I put the bucket on the strainer and began washing away the excavated material in the City of David.” “And then I saw something shiny in the corner of the sieve, different, which I don’t normally see.”
“I immediately contacted the archaeologist, and he confirmed that I had found a gold bead. Everyone here was very excited,” she said.
It is believed that the pearl was one of a set of pearls on a rich man’s necklace or bracelet – a theory that was additionally supported by the location where it was found.
The bead was uncovered where a “grandiose structure” once stood, more than 80 feet in length along the pilgrimage road to the City of David.
The suspected affluence of the building’s occupants was purportedly attested to by additional findings such as mosaic floors and imported clay vessels.
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Dr. Amir Golani, an ancient jewelry expert with the Israel Antiquities Authority, explained that while the gold bead was rare to find, the technique used to make the bead made it an especially special find.
“It requires a good understanding of the materials and their properties, as well as the control of the heat, in order to fuse the small balls together to form a small ring on the one hand, while also preventing overheating that could cause the entire Gold can be bad. To melt,” he said. “Only a professional craftsman could produce such a bead, which is another reason why this find is so important.”
Experts explain that the technology used to make the bead came from outside Israel and likely made its way into the City of David through the extensive trade ties it shared with other regions of the time.
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Only a few dozen gold beads have ever been found in Israel.
“Although it is a small find, it is precisely the personal, day-to-day objects that manage to touch and connect us more than anything else, directly, to a certain individual,” Eli Escusido, Israel Antiquities Authority director, said. “Even with today’s advanced technology, something like this would be very complex to build.”
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