Archaeology in JerusalemArchaeology in Jerusalem

  • Issue: January 1986
  • Designer: E. Weishoff
  • Stamp size: 30.8 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 6 - 7
  • Sheet of 50 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

The city of Jerusalem has been praised in countless ways more so than any other city in the world. It has been described as "the City of God, the Eternal City of the Prophets, the City of the Spirit and the Soul, the Beautiful City," to give but a few examples. It has also been described by referring to its physical characteristics - "Jerusalem - surrounded by hills" or "Jerusalem of Stone." The magic quality of its stone strikes every spectator - the stone which has served through its long history and down to our own times as the material commonly used for building in Jerusalem.

The roads of the Old City are constructed of stone in the age-old tradition as are the domed roofs of the houses with their varicoloured locally produced blocks. It was only natural, therefore, that when the builders and artists of Jerusalem were called upon to decorate the facades of their buildings, they should choose to work in stone rather than in bronze or iron. We thus find capitals and reliefs carved sometimes from hard limestone, sometimes from soft stone - some white, some coloured. Stone was also imported. Marble was brought from Turkey and Italy and engraved by the local craftsmen of capitals and reliefs.

Archaeologists have unearthed examples from different periods and cultures, all with one thing in common - the fine stone work in which these craftsmen excelled.

Capital - second temple, 1st century CE

Corinthian style capital unearthed during the excavation of the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem - the delicate work of a master craftsman. It differs from the usual Corinthian capitals in that all of its leaves are stylized and smooth. It is identical to the capitals in this style discovered in Jerusalem at the tombs of Queen Helena, which date from the 1st century CE. What distinguishes this particular capital is the fact that the Jerusalem sculptor ornamented it with roses which go all around it.

Capital - second temple, 1st century BCE

One of the largest Greek-style capitals unearthed in Israel. The carving is of a very high standard and, according to its size, must have originally crowned an 11 ft. high column. Its style is that of the 2nd-3rd centuries BCE but numbers engraved on it show us that it dates from the time of Herod, i.e., from the 1st century BCE. It was discovered in the Jewish Quarter; pieces of similar capitals have been found in digs at the foot of Temple Mount.

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Archaeology in Jerusalem (I)