Gabriel Barkay at Ketef Hinnom, sitting on top of the cave where he discovered the silver plaques containing the priestly benediction from the Book of Numbers.
|Born||1944 (age 72–73)
|Employer||Bar-Ilan University and Hebrew University|
Gabriel Barkay is an Israeli archaeologist. Born in 1944 in Hungary, he immigrated to Israel in 1950. He received his PhD in Archaeology from Tel Aviv University in 1985. His dissertation was about LMLK seal impressions on jar handles. He participated in the Lachish excavations with David Ussishkin. His academic areas of interest include the archaeology of Jerusalem, biblical archaeology, burials and burial customs, art, epigraphy, and glyptics in the Iron Age. Dr. Barkay's most famous discoveries are small silver scroll amulets containing the priestly benediction from the Book of Numbers, which he discovered in 1979 at Ketef Hinnom. These amulets contain the oldest surviving biblically related inscription discovered to date, dating back to 600 BC. He also excavated the Iron Age tombs on the grounds of the École Biblique in the early 1970s.
Barkay is currently an external lecturer at Bar Ilan University. In 2005, together with archaeologist Zachi Zweig, Barkay established the Temple Mount Sifting Project, a project funded by the Ir David Foundation and dedicated to recovering archaeological artifacts from 400 truckloads of earth removed from the Temple Mount by the Waqf and Israeli Islamic movement during 1996–2001. The construction included the establishment of an underground mosque (el-Marwani) at an ancient structure known as "Solomon's Stables", excavating a huge pit as an entrance to the structure, and reducing the platform level at the area north to the entrance. One of the findings of this project is a bulla (round clay seal affixed to documents) containing three lines of writing in Hebrew. The project detected artifacts from various periods, but Barkay pointed out the ones from Byzantine times (mainly ceramics and coins, including rare coins) as indicating that the Temple Mount was inhabited in those times.
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