JERUSALEM — A tiny golden bell recovered after 2,000 years in an ancient sewer beneath the Old City of Jerusalem was shown Sunday by Israeli archaeologists, who hailed it as a rare find.
The orb half an inch in diameter has a small loop that appears to have been used to sew it as an ornament onto the clothes of a wealthy city resident, archaeologists said.
When Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority shook it Sunday, the faint metallic sound was something between a clink and a rattle.
The bell's owner likely "walked in the street, and somehow the golden bell fell from his garment into the drainage channel," Shukron said.
The relic was found last week. Shukron said it was the only such bell to be found in Jerusalem from the Second Temple period, and as such was a "very rare" find. The Second Temple stood from about 515 B.C. until A.D. 70.
The bell was found inside the Old City walls, a few paces from the site of the Jewish Temples — the sacred compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The compound is home to al-Aqsa Mosque and the Islamic Dome of the Rock shrine.