Benjamin Mazar

This stone vessel was recovered in debris near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Hebrew letters inscribed on it can be read Qorban or “Sacrifice.” On the top we see two views of the vessel and below a wax impression of the complete inscription. Incised on the vessel are two birds—doves or pigeons. Benjamin Mazar, who discovered this vessel in remains from the time of the Temple’s destruction in 70 A.D. speculates that it was used in connection with a sacrifice to celebrate the birth of a child. Support for his idea is found in the Book of Luke which relates that Jesus was brought up to Jerusalem after his circumcision to present him to the Lord and “to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.’” (Luke 2:24)