Ancient Jerusalem hand imprint baffles Israeli experts

Published January 26, 2023
A handout picture provided by the Israel Antiquities Authority shows a hand imprint that was discovered carved into a 1,000-year-old dry moat which surrounded Jerusalem’s old quarter.—AFP
A handout picture provided by the Israel Antiquities Authority shows a hand imprint that was discovered carved into a 1,000-year-old dry moat which surrounded Jerusalem’s old quarter.—AFP

JERUSALEM: Israeli archaeologists said on Wednesday they were trying to uncover the meaning of a recently discovered hand imprint carved into the stone wall of an ancient moat outside Jerusalem’s old quarter.

The imprint, which may been made as a “prank”, was found in a thousand-year-old moat exposed during works to expand a road in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem near Herod’s Gate, Israel’s antiquities department said.

The massive moat was hewn into the stone around the entire old city, stretching 10 metres across and between two to seven metres deep and, unlike typical European ones, not filled with water.

According to Israeli officials, Crusaders needed five weeks in 1099 to cross it and breach the city’s walls and defences.

While the moat’s function was clear, the hand’s meaning was elusive.

“It’s a mystery, we tried to solve it,” excavation director Zubair Adawi said in a statement. Archaeologists remained uncertain who carved the hand into the rock or its significance.

The moat and hand have been covered to enable the continued infrastructure works just below the walls that currently surround the city, built in the 16th century by Suleiman the Magnificent.

Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

Blatant Islamophobia
Updated 30 Jan, 2023

Blatant Islamophobia

Muslim extremists and terrorist outfits are emboldened by hateful acts.
Modern slavery
30 Jan, 2023

Modern slavery

MODERN slavery is a wide-ranging term that can encompass a multitude of scenarios. Common to all of them, however, ...
Remarkable Sania
30 Jan, 2023

Remarkable Sania

BRINGING to a close a career in which she smashed stereotypes, Sania Mirza delivered almost the perfect ending in ...
Losing grip
Updated 29 Jan, 2023

Losing grip

The state and the government are responsible for providing Imran with the security he deserves as a former prime minister.
Telling silence
Updated 29 Jan, 2023

Telling silence

THE silence of the Sindh government over the recent exposé in this paper about Karachi’s water tanker mafia ...
Palestine escalation
29 Jan, 2023

Palestine escalation

THE fire of conflict once again threatens to envelop the land of Palestine, as the growing cycle of violence refuses...