A small stone seal at least 2,600 years old in Paleo-Hebrew script has been found in the continuing excavations of the main drainage channel along the western side of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem the Israel Antiquities Authority announced. The name on the seal is Matanyahu, meaning ”gift of God”, son of but only two letters survived – “Ho”. The seal was found in a structure that dates to the First Temple period – between the end of the 8th century BCE and 586 BCE. No more than two dozen seals this old have been found since excavations began in Jerusalem in the 1800s, according to archaeologist Eli Shukron.
The drainage channel runs from the City of David (you reach it by climbing the stairs from the Siloam pool), under the excavations in the Givati parking lot, under the current street and under the walls of the Old City to the Davidson archaeological park where you exit near Robinson’s Arch. Work is continuing on clearing the drainage channel and my guess is that they have already passed the Western Wall plaza.
Check out my article on walking the drainage channel. The City of David and Davidson archaeological parks are great sites (there’s a combination ticket) and I’m happy to guide you there.