Archaeologists have uncovered majestic column heads from a First Temple-era palace at Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv promenade, with the remnants of the ancient building going on public display for the first time on Thursday.
The owner of the lavish Jerusalem mansion — which would have enjoyed a monumental view of the Old City and the Temple — remains a mystery, but archaeologists were able to date the finds back to the era of the Judean kings, due to the proto-Aeolic features of the soft limestone architecture.
The finds include three complete medium-sized stone capitals and items from lavish window frames, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Thursday.
The column head design will appear strikingly familiar to Israelis — it adorns the five-shekel coin of the modern State of Israel in tribute to the First Temple era.
“This is a very exciting discovery,” said Yaakov Billig, of the Israel Antiquities Authority. “This is a first-time discovery of scaled-down models of the giant proto-Aeolian capitals, of the kind found thus far in the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel, where they were incorporated above the royal palace gates. The level of workmanship on these capitals is the best seen to date, and the degree of preservation of the items is rare.”