Archaeology & History
Mysterious hand print found in wall of ancient Jerusalem moat
By T.K. Randall
January 26, 2023 · 13 comments
Who left this hand print and why ? Image Credit: Facebook / Israel Antiquities Authority
Archaeologists discovered the enigmatic hand print during excavation work of the city's historic fortifications.
According to a recent press release by the Israel Antiquities Authority, the print was found during a dig along Sultan Suleiman Street between Jerusalem's Damascus Gate and Lions' Gate.
The excavations, which were being carried out prior to infrastructure work, revealed part of an ancient defensive moat believed to date back around 1,000 years.
"The moat, surrounding the entire Old City, dates back about 1,000 years to the 10th century CE or earlier, and its function was to prevent the enemy besieging Jerusalem from approaching the walls and breaking into the city," said excavation director Zubair Adawi.
Exactly why there is a human handprint embedded in the stonework remains unclear - archaeologists do not know whether it was done deliberately and if it was, exactly why it was left there.
"Does it symbolize something ?" the researchers wrote.
"Does it point to a specific nearby element? Or is it just a local prank? Time may tell."
"Many dreamed about and fought for Jerusalem, and the city fortifications are a silent testimony," said Israel Antiquities Authority director Eli Escuzido.
"The archaeological finds enable us to visualize the dramatic events and the upheavals that the city underwent. One can imagine the tumult and almost smell the battle smoke. We are daily unraveling the city's intensive military history, and we will make great efforts to exhibit the findings to the public."
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