More than a hundred engravings on ceramics dating back 2700 years, were unveiled this week in Jerusalem, bringing a new light on the ancient israelite kingdom of Judea and, in particular, the organization of the collection of taxes, according to archaeologists.
A few kilometers from the Old city of Jerusalem-the Authority on israeli Antiquities (IAA) has discovered the remains underground complex, whose foundations are still visible.
On this site, located near the embassy of the United States, more than 120 handles of jugs, ceramic, stamped with the seal “The king” in Hebrew, have been found.
They date from the kingdom of Judea, founded in 940 bc and having disappeared with the capture of Jerusalem by the babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in 586 bc.
The jugs contained probably of the olive oil and wine, and were collected from the population in the name of the king of Judea as taxes, explained Neria Sapir, a senior official of the AIA, which considers the discovery of seals as one of the most important of its kind in Israel.
In view of the size of the discovered relics, the proximity to the Old city of Jerusalem and of the number of ceramics found, archaeologists concluded that the site was to be the headquarters of “the public Treasury” of the time.
Once collected, the containers were in part handed over to the leaders of the assyrian empire, part of which was the kingdom of Judea. Others have certainly been raised by the inhabitants of the kingdom judéen in view of their revolt against the empire, around 701 bc, and failed.
On these jugs in ceramics, other stamps have been found and appear to refer to persons who were probably figures of the old kingdom of leaders or wealthy people.
The archaeologists in charge of excavations, all of this indicates that the place has been a nerve-centre of Jerusalem, there are thousands and thousands of years.
But one question remains obscure to them: why have you chosen to establish a centre for the collection of taxes, this place certainly located near to the capital of the kingdom and fields of olive trees and vines, but on a steep hills and rocky?
It is a mystery, admits Mr. Sapir, who is hoping to find the answer as and to the extent of the excavations.