Amulet discovered carrying a 1,000-year-old Arabic phrase in Jerusalem

The amulet contains an Arabic prayer that experts believe it was used to protect its owner, believed to be named Kareem. (Supplied)

Archaeologists in Israel found a very rare ancient amulet made of clay beneath a parking lot. The piece dates back to the 9th and 10th centuries. The piece was discovered during excavations in a parking lot in the City of David.

The amulet contains an Arabic prayer that experts believe it was used to protect its owner, believed to be named Kareem. “Kareem Trusts in Allah; Lord of the Worlds is Allah,” said the written phrase, according to a translation by Dr. Nitzan Amitai-Preiss of the Rothberg International School at Hebrew University, as reported by the Daily Mail.

The amulet was found between plaster stratifications during the excavation of a small room at the Givati Parking Lot in the City of David, in the Jerusalem Walls National Park. 

Deliberately buried or lost? 

Yet, experts cannot be certain whether this amulet was deliberately buried or simply lost by a man named Kareem since it does not have a hole to thread it on a string. It can therefore be assumed that it was part of a piece of jewelry or placed in some sort of container, as the researchers pointed out.

Dr. Nitzan Amitai-Preiss stated that it is common to find stamps made of semiprecious stones that bear similar inscriptions during the Abbasid period, but this type of clay object, especially one so tiny, is a relatively a rare archaeological find.

According to the directors of the excavation, Prof. Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University and Dr. Yiftah Shalev of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “The size of the object, its shape, and the text on it indicate that it was apparently used as an amulet for blessing and protection.”

He told the Haaretz newspaper that: “The purpose of an amulet like this is to gain personal protection.”

These amulets were used since ancient times to seek protection from the evil eye.

Furthermore, pottery shards were found at the same site, including a whole lamp, dating back to the Abbasid period.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:50 - GMT 06:50
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