Goddess symbols adorn 1,800-year-old gold jewelry from a cave in Jerusalem
This collection of sparkling ancient gold gems was discovered in an ancient burial cave near Jerusalem. Her 1,800-year-old jewelry, adorned with symbols of the Roman goddess Luna, was meant to ward off evil spirits and protect the girl after her death.
The beautiful objects were first discovered more than 50 years ago, but the excavations were never made public. Now they will be unveiled for the first time at the 48th Archaeological Congress in Jerusalem. The conference is organized by the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Israel Exploration Society and the Israel Archaeological Society.
Lot includes gold earrings, hairpins, gold pendants, gold beads, carnelian beads and glass beads.
In 1971, it was found in a lead coffin in a Roman burial ground on Mount Scopus, northeast of Jerusalem. The elaborate items were placed next to the young girl’s remains by relatives, or were simply buried wearing jewelry.
Gold earrings found at the scene. Image credit: Emil Aladjem/Israel Antiquities Authority
“It is inspiring to interling jewelery with a young girl. Parents and relatives parted with the girl, bejeweled or perhaps lay beside her, thinking of the protection that jewelery provided in the world to come.” This is a very human situation in which everyone, regardless of culture or time period, can recognize the need to protect their descendants,” said Eli of the Israeli Antiquities Authority. Director Escucido said in a statement seen by IFL Science.
This jewelery is a snapshot of the time when this part of the world was ruled by the Roman Empire. During his little over a century, from 6 AD to his 132, this area was known as the Roman province of Judea. It is especially the period that saw the life of Jesus, the crucifixion, and the emergence of Christianity.
Roman rule had a bloody and tumultuous end, but culture left its mark, as this jewelery proves. Some relics, such as the chain with Lunura pendant (pictured below), feature symbols of Luna, the Roman goddess of the moon, who is often depicted as the female version of Sol, the Roman personification of the sun.
Lunula pendant named after Luna, the Roman goddess of the moon. Image credit: Emil Aladjem/Israel Antiquities Authority
The historical setting of the burials may have been the burial grounds of newcomers to the city who had arrived from elsewhere in the Roman Empire and still retained non-Jewish “pagan” beliefs. is showing.
Today’s eyes can only speculate whether this had a deeper meaning for the family personally. I think it is highly likely that it was buried nearby.
“These gems are known throughout the Roman world and are characteristic of maiden burials and may provide evidence of the people buried at these sites. Jerusalem had a mixed population that reached the city after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple and the evacuation of the Jewish population,” the researchers added.
“People from different parts of the Roman Empire settled in the city, bringing with them different values, beliefs and ceremonies. The pagan cult of the city’s new population was the cult of gods and goddesses, including the cult of Luna, the moon goddess. It was rich and diverse, including,” they continued.