Ancient Woman’s Seal Discovered in Jerusalem
Challenging the typically subservient status of biblical-era women, one mystery woman may have held a special legal standing that made her unique among her First Temple peers.
Excavators in Jerusalem’s City of David recently uncovered a 2,500-year-old seal bearing the name Elihana—a woman whom they assume could conduct business and own property. Such objects were often used for signing documents, according to project directors Doron Ben-Ami, Ph.D., Yana Tchekhanovets and Salome Cohen. Made of semiprecious stone, the woman’s seal includes the inscription “to Elihana bat Gael” in ancient Hebrew lettering, the Israel Antiquities Authority reported.
While such discoveries are rare, Haggai Misgav, Ph.D., of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology, stressed, “Sometimes there is a woman who can break the glass ceiling.” He noted that Elihana’s seal could be indicative of her father’s social eminence.
Scholars have found many similar women’s seals from later periods, such as the Second Temple era.