Danit Levy, Israeli Antiquities Authority excavation manager, touches the stone column drum with a 2,000-year-old stone inscription, dating to the Second Temple Period (First Century CE), at a news conference on Tuesday at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI
Yuval Baruch, Jerusalem district archaeologist for the Israeli Antiquities Authority, said, "First and Second Temple period inscriptions mentioning Jerusalem are quite rare. But even more unique is the complete spelling of the name as we know it today, which usually appears in the shorthand version. This is the only stone inscription of the Second Temple period known where the full spelling appears." Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI
Baruch points to the word Jerusalem, inscribed on the stone column drum, which was unearthed in Jerusalem during a excavation prior to the construction of a new road. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI
The stone column drum, reused in the Roman structure, has writing in Hebrew letters typical of the Second Temple Period. It reads: "Hananiah son of Dodalos of Jerusalem." Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI
Levy touches the stone column drum with a 2,000-year-old inscription. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI
The column drum was found during an excavation near the foundation of a Roman structure, though there is still not enough information to determine who exactly was "Hananiah son of Dodalos." Chief curator of archaeology at the museum, Dudy Mevorach, suspects he was an artist who adopted the name from Daedalus, the skillful artist from Greek mythology. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI
Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Scientists say they have found the earliest known reference to Jerusalem -- written in Hebrew as it's spelled today -- on a 2,000-year-old stone unearthed in Israel.
The inscription was found by workers digging near Binyanei Ha'Uma, where they were excavating to clear the way for a new road. The Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Museum presented the limestone column drum at a news conference Tuesday.
The message, "Hananiah son of Dodalos of Jerusalem," was etched into the column as part of a building in a Jewish potters village.
In Hebrew, Jerusalem was typically referred to as Shalem in ancient times. On the column, it's spelled Yerushalayim. No older reference with that spelling has ever been found.
"As a resident of Jerusalem, I am extremely excited to read this inscription, written 2,000 years ago, especially when I think that this inscription will be accessible to every child that can read and uses the same script used two millennia ago," Israel Museum director Ido Bruno said.
The only other reference to Yerushalayim from that period of time was found on a coin.
"First and Second Temple period inscriptions mentioning Jerusalem are quite rare," said Yuval Baruch, regional archaeologist of the Israel Antiquities Authority. "But even more unique is the complete spelling of the name as we know it today, which usually appears in the shorthand version."
Danit Levy, who led the excavation, said the area was popular for pottery and cooking vessel production during Herod the Great's reign.
The reference to Dudolos might be more of an homage to the Greek artist that shares the same name, scientists said.