Bar-Kokhban Seals from Ḥorbat Yatir

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Excavations carried out in a fortress in the northern Negev dated to the period of the Bar-Kokhba Revolt against the Romans (132–135 C.E.) uncovered locally made stone seals and related objects used by the rebel authorities of the place, which possibly functioned as an administrative center for the preparation of special fabrics.

A round seal bears a Paleo-Hebrew inscription forming a date, while a rectangular seal bears a Paleo-Hebrew inscription related to the spinning of yarn. A stone with a flattened surface was used to practice the engraving of mirrored Paleo-Hebrew and Jewish letters on seals. Another seal bears indecipherable scribbles, and a fifth object bears geometric designs.

The Paleo-Hebrew inscriptions on the seals are hitherto the only known exemplars, apart from the Bar-Kokhban coins and two unprovenanced lead weights, of inscriptions in this script related to the Bar-Kokhban administration.

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