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Palestinian Mythology: “Israel is monstrous soldier eating the Dome of the Rock Mosque”

Via PMW:

Israel is monstrous soldier
eating the Dome of the Rock Mosque

Cartoon repeats PA libel
that Israel is planning
to destroy Jerusalem mosques

PLO official: Israel wants
to “erect what they call ‘the Temple’ over Al-Aqsa”
Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

One of the libels continuously repeated by the PA is that Israel is planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and everything else on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem – in order to build what the PA refers to as the “alleged Temple.”


Official PA TV reiterated this libel when it broadcast on its show Circle of Events a cartoon from the Jordanian newspaper Al-Dustur, which  depicts Israel as a monstrous soldier gorging on the Dome of the Rock Mosque, while a Hamas activist holding a flag with the word “Land” and a Fatah activist holding a flag with the word “Day” commemorate the Palestinian Land Day. [Official PA TV, March 30, 2014]

Similarly, on the same day, Chairman of the Political Committee of the Palestinian National Council (the legislative body of the PLO) Khaled Mismar accused Israel of scheming to tear down the Al-Aqsa Mosque:


 “Now they want to divide up the Al-Aqsa Mosque (i.e., the Temple Mount Plaza). Furthermore, they want to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and erect what they call ‘the Temple’ over Al-Aqsa.” [Official PA TV, March 30, 2014]

Click to view

Palestinian Media Watch has reported on similar cartoons in the PA media depicting Israelis and Jews eating the mosques.

PMW has documented that PA leaders repeatedly spread this libel, which not only demonizes Jews and Israelis but  also serves the purpose of denying Jewish history in the land in general and in Jerusalem in particular.

PMW recently reported that top PA religious leaders deny Jews the right to pray at the Western Wall. The highest religious authority in the PA, Mufti Muhammad Hussein, repeated this when he responded to what he called Israel’s “attempt… at lay[ing] hands on the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque… [and] in addition to the threat of destroying the Al-Aqsa Mosque to establish the alleged Temple on its ruins.” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 26, 2014]

Muslim Clerics Call to Destroy Egypt’s Great Pyramids

Waiting for the outrage from liberals, Jew-haters, the UN, NGOs, guardians of historical antiquity, Barack Hussein Obama, the Brits, Egyptians, non-Islamists, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church, palestiniasts, Hanan Ashwari, the Human Rights Council, Israeli leftists, Jewish frauds, Mahmoud Abbas, museum curators, Egyptologists, Samantha Power, the Vatican, and others, but nope, I am not hearing a single peep.  Via FrontPageMag:

According to several reports in the Arabic media, prominent Muslim clerics have begun to call for the demolition of Egypt’s Great Pyramids—or, in the words of Saudi Sheikh Ali bin Said al-Rabi‘i, those “symbols of paganism,” which Egypt’s Salafi party has long planned to cover with wax.    Most recently, Bahrain’s “Sheikh of Sunni Sheikhs” and President of National Unity, Abd al-Latif al-Mahmoud, called on Egypt’s new president, Muhammad Morsi, to “destroy the Pyramids and accomplish what the Sahabi Amr bin al-As could not.”

Abbas to Netanyahu: “You are incidental in history.”

More on the fabricated entity that calls itself “palestine”.  Via PMW:

The PA held official events in Ramallah and in Gaza to mark the day the Palestinian Authority mourns the creation of the State of Israel, called “nakba” – “catastrophe” day. Mahmoud Abbas’s speech in Gaza was delivered in his name by his advisor and representative. In the speech Abbas denied that Jews have a history in the Land of Israel and claimed a fictitious 9000 year-old Palestinian history dating back to 7000 BCE, which he said made Palestinians “the owners of history.”Abbas’s words taunted PM Benjamin Netanyahu, as the representative of Israel:

“Oh, Netanyahu, you are incidental in history; we are the people of history. We are the owners of history.”

It should be noted that Abbas’s taunting Netanyahu about history is a brazen distortion of known facts. Judean/Israeli history in the Land of Israel dates back thousands of years, and is documented by ancient Jewish and non-Jewish sources, and corroborated by numerous archeological finds, from Hebrew coins to Jewish ritual baths. The Kurkh Monolith, for example, an Assyrian document from the reign of King Shalmaneser III (859-824 BCE), includes the words: “King Ahab of Israel sent 2,000 chariots and 10,000 soldiers.”

Read the full article on the fabricated entity that calls itself “palestine” here.

Palestinian Revisionism Is the Only Obstacle to Peace

More mythology from the fabricated entity which calls itself “palestine”.  Via JP:

# The recent Palestinian Authority report stating that the Western Wall has no religious or historical significance to the Jewish people is sadly yet another attempt at political historical revisionism. As the recent UNESCO report on Jewish sites in Judea and Samaria exposed, the Palestinian rejectionist narrative is foisted on the international agenda and is supported by an automatic majority in multilateral forums.

# The PA Ministry of Information claims on its website that “according to the Jewish Encyclopedia, published in 1917, the Western Wall became part of the Jewish religious tradition around the year 1520 AD, as a result of Jewish immigration from Spain, after the Ottoman conquest the year 1517.” In fact, the entry in the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1917 provides historic references to the Western Wall from antiquity and certainly before the Arab invasion, conquest and occupation of the Middle East.

# The recent UNESCO report that Rachel’s Tomb near Jerusalem is the Bilal ibn Rabah Mosque is an even greater scandal. It also disposes of hundreds of years of Muslim tradition. According to an Ottoman document found by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, in 1830 the Turks issued a firman (royal decree) that gave legal force to Rachel’s Tomb being recognized as a Jewish holy site.

# In 2000, talks between former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat at Camp David in the presence of U.S. President Bill Clinton broke down over similar historical revisionism. After Barak had made an overly generous offer about splitting sovereignty of the Temple Mount, Arafat claimed that he could not concede an inch of this “Islamic territory” because the Jewish Temple never existed.

# While the Palestinians claim to be the original residents of our land, history and fact stand in their way. While the majority of the Jewish people had to endure a two millennia exile from our land, the stones of our Temple, the burial sites of our forefathers, our ritual baths, ancient cisterns and synagogues remained. And 2,000 years of foreign occupation and attempted negation of Jewish history could not prevent the return of the aboriginal people to our land.

# The real obstacle to peace is Palestinian rejection of Israel and the self-determination of the Jewish people. The PA brainwashes its people to disallow Israel’s legitimacy and falsifies Jewish, Christian and Muslim history in the process. This rejectionism has been at the heart of every failed peace effort for more than 70 years. Palestinian hate and intolerance, more than all the other issues combined, will doom the region to many more years of conflict.

CBS “60 Minutes” Joins the Arab Propaganda Bandwagon on Jerusalem


* Lesley Stahl’s segment of CBS News’ “60 Minutes” on October 17, entitled “Controversy in Jerusalem: The City of David,” demonstrated how to promote Arab political propaganda with shoddy and partisan journalism. Stahl characterized as “controversial” Israel’s publicizing of archeological findings of Israelite history in Jerusalem, discredited the field of biblical archeology, and dismissed archeological excavations as something run by a “settler organization.”

* While she questions the existence of King David (“There’s actually no evidence of David, right?”), it is unlikely she would ever challenge Palestinians about the existence of Mohammed, or question Christians about the existence of Jesus, based on lack of direct archeological proof of those individuals. Her approach, of course, supports attempts by Arab and Muslim leaders to erase any evidence of Jewish history in Jerusalem.

* Nor did she note that City of David archeologists, who are respected internationally for their scholarly contributions to the field, carry out their work under the auspices of the well-regarded Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) under strict protocols. She also calls it political “indoctrination” to teach Jews about their historical roots in Jerusalem.

* Furthermore, she portrays Silwan as an area that does or should belong to Arabs, failing to report that there was a community of Yemenite Jewish families in Silwan as early as 1882 in the neighborhood known as Kfar HaShiloach, and additional Jewish families from various countries joined them in the following years. In the early 1900s Baron de Rothschild bought several acres of land there for the Jewish community.

* Silwan’s Jewish residents lived in the area until they were forced out by Arab attacks in the late 1920s. The City of David, situated in the Silwan valley, is still 60% Jewish-owned and it is perfectly legal to buy homes there. To Ms. Stahl and CBS, the only obstacle to peace is Israel’s commitment to its Jewish roots in Jerusalem.

Israeli Archaeologists Find Ancient Fortification in Jerusalem

Via AP:

This image made available by Israel’s Antiquities Authority Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009 shows part of a a 3,700-year-old fortification wall discovered in Jerusalem. Archaeologists have discovered a 3,700-year-old wall in the City of David, part of the earliest fortification construction on such a large scale ever found in Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Wednesday. The 26-foot high wall is believed to have been part of a protected passage used by the Biblical Canaanites that led from a fortress on top of a hill to a spring. Ronny Reich, director of the excavation and a professor of archaeology at the University of Haifa, said the discovery marks the first time such “massive construction” before the time of King Herod was found in the oldest parts of the city. (AP Photo/IAA)

Archaeologists digging in Jerusalem have uncovered a 3,700-year-old wall that is the oldest example of massive fortifications ever found in the city, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Wednesday.

The 26-foot-high wall is believed to have been part of a protected passage built by ancient Canaanites from a hilltop fortress to a nearby spring that was the city’s only water source and vulnerable to marauders.

The discovery marks the first time archaeologists have found such massive construction from before the time of Herod, the ruler behind numerous monumental projects in the city 2,000 years ago, and shows that Jerusalem of the Middle Bronze Age had a powerful population capable of complex building projects, said Ronny Reich, director of the excavation and an archaeology professor at the University of Haifa.

The wall dates to the 17th century B.C., when Jerusalem was a small, fortified enclave controlled by the Canaanites, one of the peoples the Bible says lived in the Holy Land before the Hebrew conquest. The kingdom thought to have been ruled from Jerusalem by the biblical King David is usually dated to at least seven centuries later.

A small section of the wall was first discovered in 1909, but diggers have now exposed a 79-foot portion, and Reich believes it stretches much further. Reich said budget constraints related to the global financial crisis put an end to the excavation, at least for now.

“The wall is enormous, and that it survived 3,700 years — this is, even for us, a long time,” Reich said. It was remarkable that a fortification of this kind was not dismantled for later building projects, he said.

Israeli archaeologists discover ancient quarry

This archaeological discovery illustrates the veracity of the Jewish Bible and deconstructs the historical revisionism that is at the heart of palestinianism and the manufactured entity known as “ancient Palestine”. Via AP:

Israeli archaeologists have uncovered an ancient quarry where they believe King Herod extracted stones for the construction of the Jewish Temple 2,000 years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Monday. The archaeologists believe the 1,000-square-foot (100-square-meter) quarry was part of a much larger network of quarries used by Herod in the city.

The biggest stones extracted from the quarry would have measured three yards (meters) long, two yards (meters) across, and two yards (meters) high.

The archaeologists said the size of the stones indicates they could have been used in the construction of the Temple compound, including the Western Wall, a retaining wall that remains intact and is Judaism’s Holiest Site.

This image made available by Israel's Antiquities Authority ...

Mon Jul 6, 9:36 AM ET

This image made available by Israel’s Antiquities Authority Monday, July 6, 2009 shows workers at the excavation site of an ancient quarry in Jerusalem. Archaeologists in Jerusalem have uncovered an ancient quarry where they believe the Bible’s King Herod extracted stones for the construction of the Jewish Temple 2,000 years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Monday.

(AP Photo/IAA, Assaf Peretz)

Rubble yields silver Temple ‘tax’ half-shekel

Another stab into the heart of the mythos of “ancient Palestine”.  Via JPost:


Photo: Leah Ne'eman

Two ancient coins, one used to pay the Temple tax and another minted by the Greek leader the Jews fought in the story of Hanukka, have been uncovered amid debris from Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, an Israeli archeologist said Thursday.

The two coins were recently found in rubble discarded by Islamic officials from the Temple Mount. It is carefully being sifted by two archeologists and a team of volunteers at a Jerusalem national park.

The first coin, a silver half-shekel, was apparently minted on the Temple Mount itself by Temple authorities in the first year of the Great Revolt against the Romans in 66-67 CE, said Bar-Ilan University Professor Gabriel Barkay, who is leading the sifting operation.

One side of the coin, which was found by a 14-year-old volunteer, shows a branch with three pomegranates, and the inscription “Holy Jerusalem”; the other side bears a chalice from the First Temple and says “Half-Shekel.”

Archaeological Truth is the Palestiniast’s Worst Nightmare

Two astounding archaeological discoveries will be aired on national television.  These discoveries illustrate the veracity of the Jewish Bible and deconstruct the mendaciity and historical revisionism that is at the heart of palestinianism:

1) Herod’s bloody reputation has always hidden another side of one of the Bible’s greatest villains – an architectural mastermind of breathtaking proportions. An Israeli archaeologist claims to have found Herod’s most intimate creation of all – his tomb. Herod’s Lost Tomb Documentary to Air on Sunday, Nov. 23 on the National Geographic Channel.  See the Weekend Features section on their website for more on Herod’s Lost Tomb.

2) See also The Palace of David on PBS-Nova where Israeli archeologist Eilat Mazar discusses some of the remarkable ruins her team has uncovered in the City of David in Jerusalem. See interview with Eilat Mazar below.  See Video


Biblical clues

Q: Why did you want to excavate here, in this part of Jerusalem?

Eilat Mazar: We started excavations here because we wanted to examine the possibility that the remains of King David’s palace are here. We could have been wrong, but we knew that whatever we would find would likely be important. We are in a very important spot of the City of David [the oldest part of Jerusalem], at the top of the city. It overlooks all the area around, and it’s very narrow, only about 60 meters [about 200 feet] wide.

Q: Were there clues in the Bible that this might be the spot of David’s palace?

Mazar: Yes. We knew from the Bible that King David went down to a fortress as he heard the Philistines coming to attack him. Now, where did he go down from? Most probably from where he stayed, meaning his palace.

Before our excavations, it was believed that the Stepped Stone Structure [a 60-foot high, terraced structure] here was a support structure for the fortress of Zion, a Canaanite fortress that, according to the Bible, King David captured. Our idea was to excavate just to the north of where we thought the fortress was built.

Q: Did archeologists before you think this area had remains from the time of David?

Mazar: Some did. In the 1960s, for instance, Kathleen Kenyon’s excavation revealed building remains and pottery indicating that a significant structure was built here in the 10th century B.C., meaning more or less around the time of King David [according to the biblical chronology].

Q: When you started your excavation, what was the first sign that you had found something important?

Mazar: We began to see signs that we were dealing with a very massive structure. Huge boulders started to appear all over the area. And we found walls that were very thick, more than five meters [about 16 feet] thick. I thought it was probably the remains of the fortress, not David’s palace. Then, a week or a week and a half later, we started to find a lot of pottery from the 12th or 11th century B.C. in different places under the massive structure. So it couldn’t be the Canaanite fortress of Zion, because the fortress would have been built hundreds of years earlier.

Q: So you found pottery under the structure, and then you also found pottery on top of the structure, is that right?

Mazar: Yes. And this pottery together helps us to date the structure. So, under the structure we found a great quantity of pottery that is typical of the 12th–11th century B.C., the late Canaanite pottery. And on top of the structure we found later pottery, typical 10th-century pottery. The structure stands in between these two periods, meaning the building itself must have been built sometime around 1000 B.C.

Q: Is it possible that the dating of the site could be off, that the structure might have been built earlier or later than the time of David and Solomon?

Mazar: In archeology, it’s very difficult to declare such a precise date. I say that the structure was built around 1000 B.C., but it could have been built 50 years before or 50 years after. It’s a possibility, although it doesn’t make sense to me to prefer these other dates, and I think it’s important to take into account the biblical story of King David.

Signs of royalty
Q: Does the pottery you found that you are dating to the 10th century look like the pottery of a palace?

Mazar: It’s beautiful, elegant pottery, certainly a prestigious collection. We also found ivory, including the handle of a knife probably, and most people didn’t have ivory at that time. This was not a regular house.

Q: Do you now see the Stepped Stone Structure as part of this massive structure you are dating to the 10th century B.C., around the time of David?

Mazar: Yes. We now see it as part of a huge structure. We are talking about a very complicated and highly skilled plan of construction. There are massive walls on the top, and because the bedrock here is very steep and cracked, these walls needed massive support, and the Stepped Stone Structure offered that support. So the Stepped Stone Structure was not built for a Canaanite fortress; it was built as one unit with the structure that we believe is the palace.

“The question is, how much of the reality that the Bible describes can we archeologists reveal?”

Q: How much of the palace complex have you found—assuming, of course, that it is a palace complex?

Mazar: The area we excavated occupies less than one-quarter of an acre, and it seems to be only about 20 percent of the whole structure at the top of the City of David. [Work subsequent to this interview has uncovered roughly 10 percent more.] So this is a huge structure, the largest ever found in Israel from the ancient Israelite period.

Q: What convinces you that the structure is a palace?

Mazar: Such a huge structure shows centralization and capability of construction. It can only be a royal structure. The question is, what kind of structure is it—a fortress or a palace or a temple? We conclude it’s a palace because the Bible reports very clearly that such a palace was built. We showed it’s not a Canaanite fortress, and we have no indication that another fortress was built. And we know there was a temple on the Temple Mount [north of the site] from that period.

A kingdom doomed to destruction

Q: In light of your discovery, how would you describe Jerusalem at the time of David and Solomon?

Mazar: It seems to me that Jerusalem at the time of King David and King Solomon was very much like the Bible describes. It was monumental; the constructions were massive. They used the Phoenicians, with their capability and skill, to build the largest structures ever built in Jerusalem: the temple, the two palaces—King David’s and later the palace of King Solomon—and the wall of Jerusalem around these structures. This was a new wall that King Solomon added to the ancient wall of the old Canaanite town.

Q: So was Jerusalem the capital of a kingdom as described in the Bible?

Mazar: King David captured a Canaanite town that was very centralized, very important. He most probably did so purposely and didn’t kill most of the people. He continued most of the existing administration. It gave him strength. I believe that Jerusalem continued to be a great metropolitan center and to serve as the capital of the Israelites.

Q: How did the palace of David come to an end? Have you found evidence in your excavation?

Mazar: We do not yet have clear evidence of the destruction. We may in future seasons. But I believe that it was part of the great destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. by the Babylonians. We have lots of other evidence of this destruction nearby.

Q: What was some of the first evidence of the destruction that you and other excavators found in nearby areas?

Mazar: At the beginning of the 1980s, Professor Yigal Shiloh, a mentor of mine, excavated an area that includes what is known as the Burnt Room and the Bullae House. In their destruction layer, he found pottery typical of this period together with arrowheads that show that some fight was conducted here. It really revealed the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.

Q: And more evidence for the invasion and destruction has also emerged, is that right?

Mazar: Yes. In my excavations at the Ophel, to the south of the Temple Mount, I discovered a royal structure that appears to have been destroyed by an immense fire around 586 B.C. As we excavated, our hands were black with the ashes. And the Bible tells us that the Babylonians set houses on fire.

Evidence of a biblical scribe
Q: Tell me more about the Bullae House. Why does it have that name?

Mazar: We think it was likely a royal archive. It has the name Bullae House because Shiloh found there, in addition to pottery and arrowheads, 51 bullae. A bulla is a very small seal impression made of clay. They were used by officials sealing documents. They would role up a papyrus document, tie it with string, and then put a bit of soft clay on top of the string and stamp it with a seal. This kept the document secret, because the seal would be broken if it was opened.

The bullae that first Shiloh’s excavation and later my excavation found were remarkably well-preserved. The papyrus was destroyed in the fire, but the clay seal impressions were hardened because of the fire. The amazing thing is, we can actually read the names that were sealed in the clay.

One of the famous names we see is Yehuchal ben Shelemiyahu, a personality we know from the Bible. He was a very high official and minister, a well-known scribe at the end of the First Temple period, in the service of the Judean king Zedekiah. To find the seal impression of such a celebrity is astonishing. It’s a case of archeology confirming what is in the Bible.

“There is still so much to be done in Jerusalem. Ancient Jerusalem really is not revealed yet.”

Q: Do you think there were royal scribes in the court of David or Solomon who were recording things for them? Could those writings have become part of the written Bible?

Mazar: I believe that King David inherited the very developed scribes and administration that were part of Canaanite Jerusalem. And I’m sure that King David was aware of the importance of written documents. He likely took care to have a very detailed archive that contained administrative documents and also included poems, stories, songs, some of which we probably see in the Bible.

Q: How important to your work is the text of the Bible?

Mazar: It’s the historical source, so important, so fantastically written. The question is, how much of the reality that the Bible describes can we archeologists reveal? Sometimes you find something like the bulla with the name of a minister that appears in the Bible. This happens once in a while. More often you find structures that surely were constructed in ancient times, and the stones, the remains, speak. We need to listen to what they say.

Q: Do you see your work as furthering the legacy of past biblical archeologists?

Mazar: What we are discovering in Jerusalem now builds on the work of past archeologists, past scholars. I got my first field experience as an archeologist with the famous Professor Shiloh. I was also a student of my grandfather, Professor Benjamin Mazar. He taught me how to observe historical sources, how to examine the archeological remains in light of these historical sources. I learned so much from both of them. And I’m just one part of a long chain. The next generation will continue the work. There is still so much to be done in Jerusalem. Ancient Jerusalem really is not revealed yet.

New revelations

[Editor's note: Since Gary Glassman interviewed Eilat Mazar in the summer of 2007 for "The Bible's Buried Secrets," her team has made a number of noteworthy discoveries, three of which are detailed below.]

An ancient escape tunnel

Early in 2008, Mazar’s team found the entrance of what turned out to be an extensive tunnel running under the Stepped Stone Structure. Mazar believes that the tunnel was likely first created before the time of King David to convey water, and then incorporated into the construction of his palace complex around 1000 B.C. She says there is “high probability” that it is the water tunnel called tsinor in the biblical story of King David’s conquest of Jerusalem (in II Samuel 5:6-8 and I Chronicles 11:4-6).

Mazar thinks that, centuries later, the tunnel may have served as an escape route during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. The Bible, in the Second Book of Kings (25:4), describes King Zedekiah’s escape through such a tunnel during the siege. The tunnel, with walls composed of unworked stone and bedrock, is wide enough to allow passage of one person crawling through at a time. Within the tunnel, Mazar’s team uncovered intact oil lamps characteristic of the siege period.

A second royal seal

Two years after the discovery of the tiny clay bulla, or stamp, bearing the name of Yehuchal ben Shelemiyahu, Mazar’s excavation brought to light a similar stamp from the same location. In ancient Hebrew script, it reads “Gedaliah ben Pashur.” Ben Pashur’s name appears in the same verse of the Book of Jeremiah (38:1) as ben Shelemiyahu’s. Both men, according to the Bible, served as ministers in the court of King Zedekiah, who reigned from 597–587/6 B.C., just prior to the destruction of the First Temple and fall of Jerusalem.

The prophet Nehemiah’s wall?
In an emergency attempt to shore up an unstable structure at the excavation site, Mazar’s team chanced upon another important find—the remnants of a wall that Mazar suspects is related to the prophet Nehemiah, who governed Jerusalem around 445 B.C., following the return of the Israelites from their exile in Babylon. An assemblage of pottery, as well as bullae and arrowheads, helped Mazar date the 100-foot-long wall to Nehemiah’s time.

According to the Bible, Nehemiah, both a prophet and political leader, was determined to restore Jerusalem as the Israelites’ capital a century after its destruction by the Babylonians, and he directed the construction of an enormous wall near David’s former palace in a mere 52 days.

[For more discoveries related to the early Israelites, see Archeological Evidence.]

2,000-year-old gold earring found in Jerusalem

Via AP:

Israeli archaeologists have discovered a 2,000-year-old gold earring beneath a parking lot next to the walls of Jerusalem’s old city, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Monday.

The discovery dates to the time of Christ, during the Roman period, said Doron Ben-Ami, director of excavation at the site. The piece was found in a Byzantine structure built several centuries after the jeweled earring was made, showing it was likely passed down through generations, he said.

The find is luxurious: A large pearl inlaid in gold with two drop pieces, each with an emerald and pearl set in gold.

“It must have belonged to someone of the elite in Jerusalem,” Ben-Ami said. “Such a precious item, it couldn’t be one of just ordinary people.”

In a statement released Monday, the authority said the piece of jewelry was “astonishingly well-preserved.” Finds from the Roman period are rare in Jerusalem, Ben-Ami said, because the city was destroyed by the Roman Empire in the first century A.D.

Shimon Gibson, an American archaeologist who was not involved in the dig, said the find was truly amazing, less because of its Roman origins than for its precious nature.

“Jewelry is hardly preserved in archaeological context in Jerusalem,” he said, because precious metals were often sold or melted down during the many historic takeovers of the city.

“It adds to the visual history of Jerusalem,” Gibson added, saying it brings attention to the life of women in antiquity.

Though Gibson dates the piece slightly later than the antiquities authority, to sometime between the second and fourth centuries A.D., he said its quality and beauty were impressive.

Ben-Ami added that he expects more small, luxury items to turn up in future excavations.

Earrings similar to this one have been found at archaeological sites throughout Europe, Ben-Ami said, where the Roman Empire also flourished. The authority said the earring appeared to be crafted using a technique similar to that depicted in portraits from Roman-era Egypt.