Archaeologists have discovered a biblical-era handle of a water pitcher with an ancient Hebrew inscription of the name "Menachem," marking the first time such a handle bearing this name has been found in Jerusalem.

The discovery was made during excavations prior to the construction of a new girls' school in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood in the eastern part of the capital.

The handle is estimated to originate somewhere between the Canaanite era (2200-1900 B.C.E.) and the end of the first Temple period (the 7th and 8th centuries B.C.E.).

Scientists at the Israel Antiquities Authority are now trying to decipher the identity of the "Menachem". "This important finding joins similar names that were found in archaeological digs in the ancient east, particularly in the Land of Israel," said Dr. Ron Be'eri, who is supervising the dig for the IAA. "The names 'Menachem' and 'Yenachem' express comforting, perhaps over the death of loved ones."

"These names have appeared before, going back to the Canaanite period," Be'eri said. "The name 'Yenachem' appears on an Egyptian clay vase from the 18th Dynasty, and the name 'Yenachmu' is mentioned in the Amarna letters (14th century B.C.E.) as that of the Egyptian representative on the coast of Lebanon."