Ancient Measuring Table Found in City of David

The top part of the measuring table. (Ari Levi, Israel Antiquities Authorities)

The top of a rare measuring table thought to be 2000 years old used for liquid items such as wine and olive oil has been discovered in what appears to be a major town square in Yerushalayim’s City of David National Park.

Besides the measuring table, tens of stone measurement weights were also discovered in the same vicinity. These all support the theory that this was the location of the main city square and market on route to the Bais Sheni, in what was historically known as Yerushalayim’s lower city.

The bottom part of the measuring table. (Ari Levi, Israel Antiquities Authorities)

According to Prof. Ronny Reich, who is currently researching the recent discovery: “In a portion of the “standard of volumes” table, we see two of the deep cavities remain, each with a drain at its bottom. The drain at the bottom could be plugged with a finger, filled with a liquid of some type, and once the finger was removed, the liquid could be drained into a container, therefore determining the volume of the container, using the measurement table as a uniform guideline. This way, traders could calibrate their measuring instruments using a uniform standard.”

According to archaeologist Ari Levi of the Israel Antiquities Authority, these excavations in the City of David have also uncovered a great number of stone scale-weights measuring different values. The weights found are of the type which was typically used in Yerushalayim.

The stone scale-weights have a flat, round shape, and they are made in different sizes, representing different masses.

According to Reich, more than 90% of all stone weights of this type, totaling several hundreds, were found in archaeological excavations in early Yerushalayim dating back to the Bais Sheni period. Due to this fact, they represent a unique Yerushalayim phenomenon.

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