Archaeologists unearth 1500-year-old amulet that protected women and children from evil spirits

Archaeologists have dated the trinket amulet to the fifth or sixth centuries AD, believing it is a so-called “Solomon’s Seal“.

Israeli archaeologists have unveiled the discovery of a 1,500-year-old amulet believed to have once protected women and children from ‘evil spirits. The amulet has been unveiled for the first time since its discovery 40 years ago.


1500-year-old amulet

The 1,500-year-old artefact is called ‘Solomon’s Seal’ and was unearthed in northern Israel in the Biblical region of Galilee, near the Sea of Galilee. It was found by a local resident — the late Tova Haviv — living in the village of Arbel about 40 years ago.

A family member has now handed the artefact to the Israel Antiquities Authority, allowing experts to marvel at the discovery.

The amulet has a triangle shape. One side features ‘the figure of a rider whose head is surrounded with a halo riding a horse,’ the Israel Antiquities Authority wrote in a Facebook post.

Archaeologists have dated the trinket to the fifth or sixth centuries AD, believing it is a so-called “Solomon’s Seal”.

“The amulet is part of a group of fifth–sixth-century CE amulets from the Levant that were probably produced in the Galilee and Lebanon,” Dr Eitan Klein, the deputy director of the IAA Antiquities Theft Prevention Unit, said in the post.

“This group of amulets is sometimes called ‘Solomon’s Seal‘ and the rider is depicted overcoming the evil spirit – in this case, a female-identified with the mythological figure Gello/Gyllou, who threatens women and children and is associated with the evil eye. The eye on the reverse is identifiable as the evil eye, being attacked and vanquished by various means,” he said in the post.

Gello is a female demon mentioned in Greek mythology. It was believed that Gello caused miscarriage, infertility and infant death and is widely associated with the evil eye.

An inscription around the rider reads in Greek: “The One God who Conquers Evil”.

Below the horse is the Greek letters “I A W T”, which spell out the name of the Hebrew God Y-H-W-H or Yahweh.

On the amulet’s reverse, is an eye pierced by multiple arrows and surrounded by two lions, a snake, a scorpion and a bird. Another Greek inscription features on this site and reads: “One God.”

The IAA said in a Facebook post: “We thank the amulet’s donor for demonstrating good citizenship.

“Objects of this kind tell the story of Israel’s history and heritage and they belong to all the citizens of Israel, both legally and in terms of their cultural value.”

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