An ancient plate was found with the name Hyrkanos etched into it with Hebrew lettering. It was found in the old city of Jerusalem under a ritual bath. This rare 2,500 year old find was discovered during archaeological digging of the Israel Antiquities Authority in the “Givati Parking Lot” in the “Jerusalem Walls National Park”. Now the public can view it.
Dr. Doron Ben-Ami from the antiquities authority and Professor Esther Eshel from Bar Ilan University explain: “This plate is the earliest example of chalk dishes. Jews actually preferred this type of utensil for it couldn’t become ritually impure.”
Who was Hyrkanos the owner of the plate? Historical investigators say that Hyrkanos was a popular name at the time. “Many prominent people bore the name Hyrkanos” according to Dr. ben-Ami and Professor Eshel. “For example: Yohanan Hyrkanos, the grandson of Matityahu, the Hasmonean High Priest who ruled over Judaea and Yohana Hyrkanos II who was the son of Alexander Yannai and Queen Shlomzion. But it’s impossible to establish that this was really theirs.”
The antiquity diggers found this plate when they were digging under the foundations of a ritual bath complex that was used in the time of the Hasmoneans. This is very close to the ruins of the Greek “Hakra”. The “Hakra” was a fortress built by King Antiochus IV to control over Jerusalem and oversee the activities taking place in the Temple. He was the one defeated by the Hasmoneans in the Miracle of Hanukkah.
The Givati Parking Lot site is one of the largest digging areas now open to the public in Jerusalem.
Enjoy and have a Happy Hanukkah!