Courtesy The Israel Antiquities Authority/Photographer Vladimir Naikhin
Another success story from the wet-sifting project came from the other side of the Temple Mount, near the western wall foundations beneath Robinson’s Arch. Archaeologists Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron decided from the start to have the soil from their excavation wet-sifted and carefully sorted by Barkay and Dvira’s team. One of the most exciting results is this small clay token bearing the impression of an Aramaic inscription. Reich and Shukron read it dc’ lyh, or “pure for Yah[weh],” using the shortened form of the personal name of the Israelite God. There have been multiple suggestions about the token’s function, but they all involve the Second Temple: whether evidence of payment for libations, of a pure Tyrian silver or of a ram for sacrifice, tokens like this one probably marked ritual offerings as a sort of certificate of purity.