A rare gold bead from the end of the Roman era was discovered during the excavations in Jerusalem’s City of David, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said on Wednesday.
The bead, which was found unscathed, was created by delicate and complex handcraft. It is made of pure gold and dates back at least 1,600 years, according to the IAA press release.
An 18-year-old volunteer Hallel Feidman found the bead in dirt removed from a grandiose Roman structure discovered in the Pilgrimage Road Excavation at the sifting project in the Emek Tzurim National Park.
"I poured the pail onto the sieve and began to wash the material that was brought from the excavations in the City of David, " Feidman said.
"And then I saw something shiny in the corner of the sieve, different, that I don’t normally see. I immediately approached the archaeologist and he confirmed that I found a gold bead. Everyone here was very excited," she recalled.
According to Dr. Amir Golani, the IAA ancient jewelry expert, it is a very rare discovery.
"Throughout all my years in archaeology, I have found gold perhaps once or twice, so to find gold jewelry is something very-very special," he said.
The expert added that the bead is likely only a small part of a necklace or bracelet. Similar beads, although made of silver, have been previously discovered in burial caves from 2500 years ago in Ketef Hinnom near the City of David. To this day, only a few dozen gold beads have been found in Israel.