Ancient Hebrew amulet discovered in Samaria

Ancient Hebrew amulet found at site of Joshua’s Altar; research into origin and age of artifact is ongoing.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Israeli archeologists examining an excavation site in Samaria recently discovered an ancient Hebrew amulet that is believed to date back thousands of years.

It was found on Mount Ebal, overlooking Shechem (Nablus), at the site of Joshua’s Altar. The amulet is inscribed with the Hebrew letter Alef and a symbol that is reminiscent of a lotus flower.

“The new discovery unearthed on Mount Ebal repeatedly proves the deep and inseparable connection between the Jewish people and Samaria and the Land of Israel,” said Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan in a statement.

“The discovery of Joshua’s Altar by late archeologist Prof. Adam Zertal is one of the most significant discoveries in the history of archeology in Israel,” he added.

From 1982 to 1988, Israeli archeologists carried out excavations at Joshua’s Altar, but much of the site remained unexamined until recently.

Zvi Kongisberg, a researcher who assisted Zertal during the initial excavation nearly four decades ago, told Ynet that technology has now advanced to the point where the earth around Joshua’s Altar could be more carefully examined for ancient artifacts.

He said that previous discoveries at the site had to be abandoned before they were properly examined, as initial attempts to analyze the fragile objects had led to damage. It was feared they could be unintentionally destroyed by the archaeologists.

Kongisberg noted that the lotus flower was an important symbol in ancient Egypt, Research into the origin and meaning of the amulet is ongoing.

Plans to use advanced infrared technology to scan the altar itself, possibly revealing ancient writing that is described in the Bible, are also in development, he added.

Dagan said that the discovery of the amulet was particularly important in light of the intentional destruction of Biblical sites by Palestinians.

“Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority, together with partners from Europe and the extreme left, are trying to erase the history of the Jewish people in Samaria every day,” he said.