Friday, July 22, 2011

Golden bell that may have been worn by Second Temple Kohen Gadol discovered

Archaeologists have unearthed what they believe to be a golden bell belonging to the High Priest from the period of the Second Temple.
While conducting an archaeological dig in Jerusalem's City of David, members of the Israel Antiquities Authority were astonished to find a rare golden bell with a small loop at its end.

Archaeologists Eli Shukron and Professor Ronny Reich of Haifa University, who are leading the excavation, said: “The bell looks as if it was sewn on the garment worn by a man of high authority in Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period [1st Century B.C.E.]."

That man of high authority is assumed to be none other than the High Priest. Archaeologists have surmised that the bell may have fallen while he walked through Jerusalem's main street, near Robinson's Arch [an ancient entrance to the Temple Mount]. They believe the bell may have fallen into the drainage canal below.

The bell was discovered in the city’s main drainage canal from that period, unearthed between layers of dirt that had piled up on the floor of the channel. The drainage canal was built and hewn west to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, carrying rainfall from different parts of the city, through the City of David and the Shiloah Pool to the Kidron Valley.

Jewish sources say that the high priests who served in Jerusalem's Holy Temple did indeed hang golden bells on the edges of their coats. The book of Exodus, for example, describes the coat of Aaron, the high priest, as containing “bells of gold.”

Exodus 28:31-34:
And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue. And it shall have a hole for the head in the midst thereof; it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of a coat of mail that it be not rent. And upon the skirts of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the skirts thereof; and bells of gold between them round about: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the skirts of the robe round about.