A 2,000-year-old cameo bearing the image of Cupid – Roman god of desire and erotic love, and Greek god of sexual love and beauty (also known as Eros) – is among the newest finds from the past year of excavations at the City of David.

Ancient Cupid in Jerusalem

The cameo and other discoveries to be presented this evening at the 11th Annual City of David Archaeology Conference include a massive fortification and a very large building dating to Roman times.

At one 1cm in length and 0.7 mm in width, the Cupid cameo is thought to have been part of an earring.

According to Dr. Doron Ben Ami of the Israel Antiquities Authority, who is supervising the excavations, “the cameo is made from two layers of semi-precious onyx stone. The upper layer, into which the image of cupid is engraved, is a striking blue color which contrasts with the dark brown background color of the lower layer.

“… The cupid’s left hand is resting on an upside-down torch which symbolizes the cessation of life. The feathers of his wings are hinted at by a number of grooves, his face is full and round, and his hair is curly.”

Ben Ami says that the discoveries “… contribute significantly to our understanding of the nature of Jerusalem’s Roman Period.”