Eylon Lévy discovered a potsherd with a unique inscription in Tel Lachish National Park in Israel.
Eylon Lévy is the international media adviser to the President of the State of Israel, Isaac Herzog. While visiting Tel Lachish National Park, he made a rare, if not unique, discovery: a fragment of pottery on which is noted an inscription, "year 24 of Darius".
Here's how I discovered the Darius Ostracon, and here's what it looks like after the Israel Antiquities Authority cleaned it up. pic.twitter.com/v4YvTkX7Dx— Eylon Levy (@EylonALevy) March 1, 2023
It is primarily the way in which Eylon Lévy discovered this 2-year-old fragment that makes this discovery unprecedented. "When I picked up the ostracon [pottery shard, editor's note] and saw the inscription, my hands shook. I looked left and right for the cameras because I was sure that someone was playing an elaborate joke on me," he said in comments echoed by the The Jerusalem Post.
"When I was walking around here with a friend exploring history, I was turning over pottery and stones in my hand and suddenly I found something that had letters on it and I thought it was. was too good to be true."
But it is above all the rarity of the fragment that makes it valuable. Because, as Eylon Lévy points out, "it is the only written trace of Darius the Great, the father of the biblical Achashverosh [Assuerus, Editor's note] found anywhere in the Land of Israel!".
Some exciting personal news: visiting Tel Lachish, I stumbled upon an ostracon with the Aramaic inscription "year 24 of Darius"—498 BCE! It's the only written record of Darius the Great—the father of the biblical Achashverosh—found anywhere in the Land of Israel! pic.twitter.com/p3TZnE7SnU— Eylon Levy (@EylonALevy) March 1, 2023
And to top it off, this archaeological discovery was made a few days before the holiday of Purim, which commemorates the events related in the book of Esther, of which Darius' son, Ahasuerus, is a key figure.
While experts from the Israel Antiquities Authority were initially skeptical of its authenticity, their analysis left no doubt. Saar Ganor contacted Eylon Lévy while leaving the Dead Sea Scrolls laboratories.
"We put it through three scanners. It's genuine. No modern hand could do it, and it's from two thousand five hundred years ago, before the Purim story," said- he asserted. An opinion confirmed by Dr. Haggai Misgav of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. King Darius is mentioned several times in the Bible, notably in the books of Haggai and Zechariah.