Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Symbol of a king’s or a priest’s office, this bronze and silver scepter head vuas discovered beneath an eighth-century B.C. altar at Tel Dan, the northernmost city in the Biblical kingdom of Israel.

Four badly corroded figures, possibly representing lion heads, jut from the top of the 3.7-inch-high artifact. Below the figures, three circular grooves form four veins, or rings, a motif that repeats three more times on the scepter head. Around the head’s middle section, a bronze ring in the shape of leaves encloses a silver surface. The scepter head terminates at the bottom with an encircling flange.