Archeology: Israel, ancient seal 'shows extinct plant'

Mystery resurfaces about plant Cleopatra loved for perfumes

21 October, 15:20

    (ANSAmed) - TEL AVIV, 21 OTT - An elegant, 2,000-year-old amythyst seal recently found in a layer of earth below the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem caused a particular sensation among archaeologists because it perhaps shows the engraving of a plant famous at the time that later became extinct.

    Local experts told the Israeli Antiquities Authority that the plant depicted could be "afarsemon", which has come down through history also under the name "persimon", "bosem", or "balm of Gilead".

    The plant, which grew on the banks of the Dead Sea, was used for products including perfumes made for Queen Cleopatra.

    The gem, which served as a ring, is purplish in colour and about a centimetre long. It depicts a bird, possibly a dove, and the branch of a plant with five fruits.

    If the theory is confirmed that it is a reproduction of the biblical "afarsemon", it would be the first time having a designed image of the plant mentioned by historians such as Giuseppe Flavio. (ANSAmed).

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