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In the footsteps of Jesus: 2,000-year-old business receipt found in Jerusalem

A 2,000-year-old ancient receipt was discovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) along the City of David pilgrimage route in Jerusalem, according to a statement released Wednesday.

A small fragment of a stone tablet was found with the name “Shimon” inscribed in Hebrew, apparently accompanied by lines of letters and numbers suggesting that a financial record was taken and indicating that money was involved in a transaction.

“At first glance, the names and numbers may not seem exciting, but to think that just like today, receipts were also used in the past for business purposes, and such a receipt has come down to us, is a rare and rewarding find that provides insight into daily life in the holy city of Jerusalem,” the IAA said in a statement posted on Facebook.

“The daily life of the inhabitants of Jerusalem who resided here 2000 years ago is expressed in this simple object.”

The Israel Antiquities Authority has uncovered a 2,000-year-old receipt found on the pilgrimage route to Jerusalem. (Israel Antiquities Authority)


Four other similar Hebrew inscriptions from the early Roman period, the time also known as the time of Jesus Christ, have also been found in Jerusalem and Bet Shemesh, according to excavation director Nahshon Szanton and Esther Eshel, epigraphist and professor at the bar. -Ilan University.

But the most recent discovery is the first of its kind to have been found from this historical period within the city limits of Jerusalem.

According to the researchers, the inscription was engraved using a sharp tool on a chalk slab, which was traditionally used as an ossuary or burial chest in Jerusalem and Judea between 37 BC and 70 AD.

Israeli diggers find old receipt

A 2,000-year-old receipt was found on Pilgrimage Road in Jerusalem. (Israel Antiquities Authority)


“Ossuaries are usually found in tombs outside the city, but their presence has also been documented inside the city, perhaps as merchandise sold in the workshop or store of a local craftsman,” the statement said.

The historic receipt was found in the lower city along the pilgrimage route, about a third of a mile long and connecting the southern city gate of the City of David to the Temple Mount.

This road “basically served as Jerusalem’s main thoroughfare at the time,” the IAA said.

Renderings of the City of David

Pilgrimage route connecting the City of David and the gates of the Temple Mount. (Shalom Kveller and City of David Archives)

“The combination of the architectural and material space of the huge cobbled stones of the square that have been preserved on the site and the discovery of small discoveries in this area, such as the measuring table and the new inscription, allow us to reconstruct parts of the incredibly unique archaeological puzzle in one of the vibrant centers that existed in ancient Jerusalem,” Szanton and Eshel said in a joint statement published in the journal Atiqot.

“Each information, and certainly an ancient inscription, adds a new and fascinating dimension to the history of the city.”


“The pilgrimage route, which is continually being uncovered in the City of David National Park in Jerusalem, is a flagship project of the Israel Antiquities Authority,” said Eli Escusido, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Israel in a press release.

“It is no coincidence that the many finds that are revealed in the excavations shed light on the centrality of this route even during the Second Temple period. With each discovery, our understanding of the region deepens, revealing the role central part of this street in the daily life of the inhabitants of Jerusalem 2000 years ago.”


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