Rare phenomenon

Antique stone seals from 2,500 years ago belonged to “exceptional” woman

Israel Antiquities Authority

Two antique stone seals bearing insignia that marked their owner an “exceptional” woman have been discovered in Jerusalem’s Old City. The seals are made of semiprecious stone and are engraved with the words “Elihana bat Gael” and “Sa’aryahu ben Shabenyahu,” which, according to the Times of Israel, show that the owner was affluent. The seals are about 2,500 years old and date to the First Temple-era. The Israel Antiquities Authority said in announcing the discovery that it was a rare phenomenon to find ancient seals belonging to a woman because of women’s traditionally lower economic status.

The “owner of the seal was exceptional compared to other women of the First Temple period: she had legal status which allowed her to conduct business and possess property,” the IAA said.

Israel Antiquities Authority.

Israel Antiquities Authority.

The seals likely bore the name of the woman’s father, and she would have maintained her right to property and financial independence even after marriage, according to experts.

Read the full story at the Times of Israel.

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