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Photos: Ancient Silver Treasure Discovered in Biblical City

Silver treasure

Archaeologists excavating the city of Abel Beth Maacah in northern Israel have discovered a silver treasure in a jug, dating back 3,200 years.

(Image credit: Photo by Gabi Laron)

Archaeologists excavating the city of Abel Beth Maacah in northern Israel have discovered a silver treasure in a jug, dating back 3,200 years, long before minted currency was invented. When it was first found the silver treasure looked like a ball and conservation work needed to be done. Curiously the person who owned the treasure doesn't appear to have made an attempt to conceal the jug when they abandoned it. [Read full story]

Hoop earrings

After conservation work was done by Mimi Lavi, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Institute of Archaeology, the researchers found the treasure consisted of five earrings (top) and an enigmatic object (top right) that appears twisted like a knot.

(Image credit: Photo by Gabi Laron)

After conservation work was done by Mimi Lavi, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Institute of Archaeology, the researchers found the treasure consisted of five earrings (top) and an enigmatic object (top right) that appears twisted like a knot. The earrings could have been worn by both men and women. At bottom are silver ingots or "scrap" silver, which would have been used in trade.

Tower overlook

The jug with treasure was found just to the north of a "massive structure," as the researchers call it, which may be a tower overlooking a valley.

(Image credit: Photo by Robert Mullins, Azusa Pacific University)

The jug with treasure was found just to the north of a "massive structure," as the researchers call it, which may be a tower overlooking a valley. At some point the massive structure fell into disuse and domestic dwellings were built to the north, the treasure perhaps dating to this time. Shown here, the tower looking south.

A Tell

The city of Abel Beth Maacah flourished during the second and first millenniums B.C., and was mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and ancient Egyptian records.

(Image credit: Photo by A.D. Riddle, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)

The city of Abel Beth Maacah flourished during the second and first millenniums B.C., and was mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and ancient Egyptian records. It was occupied for so long that its archaeological remains form a human-made mound called Tel or Tell (shown here in an aerial view from the northwest). Now called Tell Abil el-Qameh, the site was first identified as Abel Beth Maacah in the 19th century based on its location and historical accounts of the city. Until recently little excavation has been done at the site.

Ring flask

Among the finds the researchers made at the Biblical city in Israel was this ring flask.

(Image credit: Photo by Moshe Cohen)

Among the finds the researchers made at the Biblical city in Israel was this ring flask that dates back to the beginning of the Iron Age, almost 3,200 years.

King David

According to the Hebrew Bible, Abel Beth Maacah was the site of a siege during the time of King David (whom some scholars believe lived about 3,000 years ago).

(Image credit: Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen, released into public domain, courtesy Wikimedia)

According to the Hebrew Bible, Abel Beth Maacah was the site of a siege during the time of King David (whom some scholars believe lived about 3,000 years ago). A man named Sheba ben Bichri, according to Scripture, rebelled against David and fled to the city. A man named Joab pursued David and laid siege to the site. The inhabitants protested, saying they were Israeli and so Joab was attacking his own people. The siege ended when the inhabitants killed Bichri and threw his head over the wall.

Shown here, a statue of King David, created about 400 years ago by the sculptor Nicolas Cordier. It is now in the Borghese Chapel of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.

Remains of a city

Archaeological work at Abel Beth Maacah is just beginning

(Image credit: Photo by Ferrell Jenkins)

Archaeological work at Abel Beth Maacah is just beginning and the team will be back this summer to investigate the ancient city further.