A press release communicated by The Israel Antiquities Authority reports the discovery of an artefact, a 1500 year old seal bearing an image of the Temple menorah, which was recently discovered near Akko. The stamp was used in the 6th century to identify baked products and it probably belonged to a bakery that supplied kosher bread to the Jews of Akko in the Byzantine period.
This find belongs to a group of stamps referred to as “bread stamps” because they were usually used to stamp baked goods. According to Gilad Jaffe and Dr. Danny Syon, the directors of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “A number of stamps bearing an image of a menorah are known from different collections. The Temple Menorah, being a Jewish symbol par excellence, indicates the stamps belonged to Jews, unlike Christian bread stamps with the cross pattern which were much more common in the Byzantine period.”
According to Syon, The stamp is important because it proves that a Jewish community existed in the settlement of Uza in the Christian-Byzantine period. The presence of a Jewish settlement so close to Akko – a region that was definitely Christian at this time – constitutes an innovation in archaeological research”. The excavators add, “Due to the geographical proximity of Horbat Uza to Akko, we can speculate that the settlement supplied kosher baked goods to the Jews of Akko in the Byzantine period.”