Marion Fischel
February 14, 2023

The Israel Antiquities Authority  has discovered a rare gold bead, at least 1,600 years old, in Jerusalem’s City of David.

IAA ancient jewelry expert Dr. Avi Golani classified the discovery as extremely rare and “very special.” He said  it was very unusual to find gold jewelry in excavations.

Ostensibly part of a necklace or bracelet, the bead was among the rubble from the excavation of what archaeologists are calling a “grandiose” Roman structure,  25 meters in length.

Ancient rare gold bead unearthed in Jerusalem
The gold bead which was discovered in Israel Antiquities Authority excavations in the City of David. Photo by Koby Harati/City of David

The excavated Roman building is part of the ongoing digs along Pilgrimage Street, outside the City walls.

The structure was built in an architectural style pertinent to the very wealthy of the time. Additional finds at the site include imported clay vessels and a decorated mosaic floor, said  IAA excavation directors Shlomo Greenberg and Ari Levy in a joint statement.

Eighteen year old National Service volunteer at the Emek Tzurim Archaeological Experience sifting project noticed the gold bead when something shiny caught her eye as she was washing material from the excavations.

“I immediately approached the archaeologist and he confirmed that I found a gold bead. Everyone here was very excited.”

Ancient rare gold bead unearthed in Jerusalem
Eighteen year old National Service volunteer at the Emek Tzurim Archaeological Experience sifting project noticed the gold bead

IAA members are most interested in what they recognize as the bead’s complex skilled, intricate and complex 4,500 year-old Mesopotamian production technique.

“Only a professional craftsman could produce such a bead, which is another reason that this find holds great value,” said IAA ancient jewelry expert Dr. Amit Golani.

The  bead could very likely have been created outside of Israel, since Jerusalem had extensive trade relations with other regions at the time, tje archaeologists said.

“A close examination of this object fills one with a deep sense of admiration for the technical skill and ability of those who came before us many centuries ago, “ said Golani.

Ancient rare gold bead unearthed in Jerusalem
. Section of the grandiose Roman structure where the bead was found. Photo by Ari Levy/IAA

The Archaeological Experience at Emek Tzurim Jerusalem Walls National Park has uncovered numerous finds dating  throughout Jerusalem’s history, including rare jewelry, coins, and pottery fragments.

More on Archeology

More on city of david