A Potsherd from the Temple Mount with an Incision that Resembles the Temple Menorah

Pottery sherd with etched menorah

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A very interesting incised design appears on an ancient potsherd found in the sifting of the soil from the Temple Mount . Is it the Temple Menorah? Some kind of floral design? Something else? How can we date this potsherd? When was the incision done? By whom and for what purpose?

If it is a menorah, what can we learn from this artifact?

All these questions are currently being debated by the archaeologists studying this potsherd.

We welcome your suggestions…

27239 menorah-c

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  1. Bob Hathaway
    Bob Hathaway says:

    If one uses the indentations as the branches, there are six. Since the piece is broken off at the top, maybe the Shamash extended higher somehow.
    The piece does appear to be a section of a larger piece.
    It appears to be clay fired so it should be dated through carbon dating.

  2. daryl fletcher
    daryl fletcher says:

    a picture of Aaron’s budding staff from the Ark of the Covenant? Decorating a vessel used in the Temple.

  3. Bart Van Allen
    Bart Van Allen says:

    Interesting – I remember reading that ancient Israel used the Olive Tree and the Date Palm as representing the Tree of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life –
    Perhaps it is a date palm frond? That would be imagery found on the Temple Mount –

  4. Wade
    Wade says:

    This looks remarkably similar to the design on a 1776 William Moulton New Hampshire coin. In the case of the coin, the image depicts a crude drawing of a pine tree.

  5. Keith Lankford
    Keith Lankford says:

    I wonder if the image is right side up. Might the lines in the clay show the orientation of the image as being horizontal?

  6. Charles McKinnis
    Charles McKinnis says:

    It would appear to be the representation of a menorah with the seventh branch broken off. Even though the branches may appear to be like flowers, this would be in accordance with the instructions given to Moses in Exodus 25:31-35.

  7. Kim
    Kim says:

    The first thing I thought was “delta.” I could see this as being part of a larger engraving depicting some sort of pastoral scene, or map, perhaps. The fact that the lines are asymmetric, and the one on the right is deeper and might be longer seems significant.

  8. steve truckenmiller
    steve truckenmiller says:

    Looks like half of a casting mold. Look at the relief gate if you turn it upside down..it allows the mold to fill and excess to ooze out the top during pouring the mold. Could have been a jewelry mold.

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