JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists found a 2,000-year-old earring near the walls of Jerusalem's Old City.
"The discovery dates back to just after the time of Christ, during the Roman period," said IAA archaeologist Doron Ben-Ami, director of the excavation.
"The piece was found in a destroyed Byzantine structure built several centuries after the jeweled earring was made, showing it was likely passed down through the generations," he said.
A large, single pearl inlaid in gold, with two dropped pieces, each with an emerald and a pearl, also set in gold, is an exquisite piece of jewelry, by anyone's standards.
"It must have belonged to someone of the elite in Jerusalem," Ben-Ami said, "such a precious item couldn't be one of just ordinary people," he said.
The excavation director called it a rare find because Rome's first century destruction of Jerusalem left little artifacts behind from that period.
"Jewelry is hardly preserved in archaeological context in Jerusalem," said archaeologist Shimon Gibson, "because precious metals were often sold or melted down during the many historic takeovers of the city," he said, calling it a visual addition to the history of Israel's ancient capital.
Source: The Jerusalem Post