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Archaeologists uncover 2,700-year-old storage center in Jerusalem

A worker of the Israel Antiquities Authority cleans excavations Wednesday at a significant storage center -- from the days of Kings Hezekiah and Menashe -- that was uncovered near the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI
A worker of the Israel Antiquities Authority cleans excavations Wednesday at a significant storage center -- from the days of Kings Hezekiah and Menashe -- that was uncovered near the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

July 22 (UPI) -- The Israel Antiquities Authority said Wednesday scientists have uncovered a large 2,700-year-old storage center in Jerusalem, near the new U.S. Embassy.

The authority said in a statement the find dates back to the eras of King Hezekiah and King Menashe and operated during the Judean monarchs rule from the 8th century to the middle of the 7th century B.C.

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Officials said the excavation, funded by the Israel Land Authority and administrated by the Moriah Jerusalem Development Corporation, found one of the largest and most important collections of seal impressions in Israel.

Archaeologists said the location, in the Arnoma neighborhood of Jerusalem, gives a glimpse into tax collection during the period.

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Scientists found jars stamped with more than 120 seal impressions at the site. The impressions were stamped with the letters "LMLK" in ancient Hebrew script, meaning "to the king." The name of an ancient city in the Kingdom of Judah was found on the jars.

Archaeologists said other seals were associated with private individuals.

"The archaeological discoveries at Arnona identify the site as a key site -- the most important in the history of the final days of the Kingdom of Judah and of the return to Zion decades after the destruction of the kingdom," said IAA archaeologist Yuval Baruch.

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"This site joins a number of other key sites uncovered in the area of Jerusalem which were connected to the centralized administrative system of the Kingdom of Judah from its peak until its destruction."

Neria Sapir and Nathan Ben-Ari, directors of the excavations, said the site dates back to a time of biblical upheavals -- such as the Assyrian conquest campaign, under the command of King Sennacherib in the days of King Hezekiah.

They said it appears the site continued to be active after the Assyrian conquest.

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