Gabriel Barkay

Gabriel Barkay (sometimes spelled Barkai) is an Israeli archaeologist. Born in 1944 in Hungary, he immigrated to Israel in 1950.

Barkay 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 two 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.

Gabriel Barkay
Gabriel Barkay
Gabriel Barkay, June 2017
Born 1944 (age 73–74)
Residence Israel Israel
Nationality Israeli
Occupation Archaeologist
Employer Bar-Ilan University and Hebrew University[1]

Media presence

Barkay frequently appears on the History Channel show The Naked Archaeologist, which is hosted by Simcha Jacobovici.

Recent activity

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.[2] 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.[3][4]


In 1996, Barkay received the Jerusalem Prize for his life's work as an archaeologist of Jerusalem.[1]

In 2014 he received the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Gabriel Barkay". Biblical Archaeology Society. Archived from the original on 27 March 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
  2. ^ Etgar Lefkovits (April 14, 2005). "Temple Mount relics saved from garbage". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on March 2005. Retrieved August 10, 2014.
  3. ^ Shahar Ilan (October 12, 2005). "Gems in the dirt". Haaretz. Retrieved August 10, 2014.
  4. ^ Nadav Shragai (October 19, 2006). "First Temple artifacts found in dirt removed from Temple Mount". Retrieved August 10, 2014.
  5. ^ "Lion of Zion Winners 2014". Retrieved 24 May 2015.

External links

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