The Givati Parking Lot is an archaeological excavation located in the Tyropoeon Valley in the Old City of Jerusalem. The excavation site is located in the City of David National Park, also known as the Jerusalem Walls National Park, which is an Israeli national park located near the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, a walled area just under 1 square kilometer within the modern city of Jerusalem.
The earring was discovered during archaeological digs by Tel Aviv University and the Israeli Antiquities Authority, the governmental authority responsible for enforcing the 1978 Law of Antiquities. The Antiquities Law was established by Israel to outline the rights of discovery and ownership of antiquities in Israel.
The directors of the excavation, professor Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University and Dr. Yiftah Shalev of the Antiquities Authority, told the Jerusalem Post Wednesday that the piece of jewelry was found inside a building uncovered during the excavation. The earring dates to "the early Hellenistic period — a fascinating era about which we know very little when it comes to Jerusalem."
"During the course of over a century of archaeological digs in the city, many small discoveries have been made from this period — mainly consisting of pottery fragments and a few coins — but hardly any remains of buildings that could be accurately dated to this period," the evacuation directors added.
The Hellenistic period is the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great, ruler of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon, in 323 BC, and the rise of the Roman Empire in 31 BC.
The hoop earring features the head of an unidentified horned animal with large eyes and a mouth, according to the Jerusalem Post. According to Gadot, this is the first time that an earring from this era has been found in an archaeological ruin in Jerusalem.
"It is unclear whether the gold earring was worn by a man or a woman, nor do we know their cultural or religious identity, but we can say for certain that whoever wore this earring definitely belonged to Jerusalem‘s upper class," researchers told the Jerusalem Post.
"This can be determined by the proximity to the Temple Mount and the Temple, which was functional at the time, as well as the quality of the gold piece of jewelry."
Excavators also uncovered a gold bead with ornamentation resembling a rope pattern near the area where the earring was found. The pattern divides the beads into two sections with six spirals on each side.
According to Ariel Polokoff and Adi Erlich, professors at the Archaeological Department in Haifa University, both the earring and the bead seem to have been made using a technique called filigree, a type of metalwork in which tiny beads or twisted threads are soldered together on the surface of another object in an intricate pattern.
The jewelry will be displayed publicly at at the City of David‘s annual archaeological conference in September.