Renowned Archaeologist Eli Shukron has made the national news in Israel once again, as he unearthed a very rare beka tax weight dating back to the First Temple period, discovering unique clues illuminating ancient temple tradition.
In today’s feature on the jewishpress.com, Eli Shukron was interviewed on the newest archaeological discovery of a beautifully preserved stone weight with the word Beka engraved on it. Shukron, who directed the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, explains in his interview the significance of the weight:
“When the half-shekel tax was brought to the Temple during the First Temple period, there were no coins, so they used silver ingots. In order to calculate the weight of these silver pieces they would put them on one side of the scales and on the other side they placed the Beka weight. The Beka was equivalent to the half-shekel, which every person from the age of twenty years and up was required to bring to the Temple.”Eli Shukron
“Beka weights from the First Temple period are rare; however this weight is even rarer, because the inscription on it is written in mirror script and the letters are engraved from left to right instead of right to left. It can therefore be concluded that the artist who engraved the inscription on the weight specialized in engraving seals, since seals were always written in mirror script so that once stamped the inscription would appear in regular legible script. “Apparently, the seal craftsman got confused when he engraved the inscription on the weight and mistakenly used mirror script as he was used to doing. From this mistake we can learn about the general rule: The artists who engraved weights during the First Temple period were the same artists who specialized in creating seals.”– Eli Shukron
Want to Take Part in Sifting for Archeological Treasure?
This sifting project in the Emek Tzurim National Park is regularly featured on our Christian tours of Israel. Guests of the tour can take part in the archaeological experience by joining a team of archaeologists at the sifting site, where artifacts such as this stone weight, other coins, arrowheads, pottery, jewelry and metals can be discovered in the excavated soil. Even more exciting is that Eli Shukron has partnered with Living Passages to guide our Israel travelers through his discoveries in the City of David!