A Seal from the Time of Sargon II

Sargon II - Louvre Museum


Image: Sargon II


Archaeologists digging in northern Galilee have discovered a seal that is dated to the time of Sargon II, the Assyrian king who conquered Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom. They also discovered an orange ring dating back to the Middle Ages.

In an article published in Haaretz, Eli Ashkenazi describes the significance of the findings:

The seal, the older of the two artifacts, was found behind the wall of the earliest shrine, within a layer of filler between an internal and external wall. Archaeologists are unaware of how the seal ended up at the site, as the temple was built roughly 700 years before the seal was created. The layer of filler also contained small glass tools and other objects which were apparently taken out of the temple during construction.

Prof. Ziona Grossmark of Tel-Hai Academic College in northern Israel conducted research on the seal, along with Baruch Brendl from the Israel Antiquities Authority. “The seal depicts a battle between a winged figure and a bull standing on its hind legs,” says Grossmark, adding that “comparative research allows us to date it to the time of Sargon II, an Assyrian king who ruled between 722 and 705 B.C.E. and completed the conquest of ancient Israel. The seal was apparently brought to Israel by one of his subjects.”

The discovery of this seal may shed light on the Assyrian presence in Samaria after it was conquered by Sargon II in 722 B.C. and after Samaria became an Assyrian province.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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