AN ANCIENT amulet once believed to have protected women and children from ‘evil spirits’ has been unveiled by archaeologists.
The 1,500-year-old artefact is called ‘Solomon’s Seal’ and was found in northern Israel in the Biblical region of Galilee.
Experts think the amulet features an eye with arrows in itCredit: Dafna Gazit/Israel Antiquities Authority
The amulet was found by a local resident living in the village of Arbel about 40 years ago.
Arbel is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible.
A family member has now handed it over to the Israel Antiquities Authority, which is studying it further.
Experts have since dated the seal back to the fifth or sixth centuries AD.
One side shows a haloed figure riding a horse and pointing a spear at an evil spirtCredit: Dafna Gazit/Israel Antiquities Authority
They have compared it to other seals and pendants thought to be warn in ancient Galilee and Lebanon.
Archaeologists think people wore them so they had divine protection.
The newly revealed amulet has inscriptions on either side and may have been worn on a necklace.
The front of the trinket shows a haloed figure riding a horse.
Experts think the rider is also holder a spear which they are throwing towards a female figure called Gello.
The amulet may have been worn to try and protect women and children from evilCredit: Dafna Gazit/Israel Antiquities Authority
Gello is a female demon mentioned in Greek mythology.
It was believed that Gello caused miscarriage, infertility and infant death.
One myth says she died as a virgin and sought revenge as a ghost.
A Byzantine belief was that gello were spirits who haunted homes and killed children at night.
A Greek inscription on the spooky amulet reads: “The One God who Conquers Evil”.
It’s also inscribed with Greek letters spelling out the name of the Hebrew god Yahweh.
The other side shows an eye pierced with arrows, a scorpion, snake, bird and two lions.
It is inscribed with the Greek phrase for “One God.”
Dr Eitan Klein, the deputy director of the IAA’s Antiquities Theft Prevention Unit, said: “The amulet is part of a group of fifth to sixth-century CE amulets from the Levant that were probably produced in the Galilee and Lebanon.
“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.
“The amulet was therefore probably used to guard against the evil eye, possibly to protect women and children.”
In other news, climate change may have been a major factor in one of the oldest examples of human warfare.
The mystery surrounding the age of the Cerne Abbas Giant may have finally been solved.
And, scuba divers found a huge 50 pound mammoth bone in a Florida river.
What do you think of the amulet? Let us know in the comments…
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at [email protected]