The remains of a wealthy estate, with a mosaic fountain in its garden, dating to between the late 10th and early 11th centuries have been unearthed in Ramla in central Israel.
The estate was discovered during excavations at a site where a bridge is slated for construction as part of the new Highway 44.
"It seems that a private building belonging to a wealthy family was located there and that the fountain was used for ornamentation," Hagit Torgë, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said in a statement. "This is the first time that a fountain has been discovered outside the known, more affluent quarters of Old Ramla." Read more.
JERUSALEM — An excavation by Israeli archaeologists unearthed remains of a lavish meal held near a tomb by prehistoric men to mourn their dead, making the find the oldest funerary meal discovered.
The ongoing excavation at the Carmel Mountains near Haifa in the north of Israel is examining the caves dotting the mountains that were used by a prehistoric tribe 13,000 years ago.
"We know that prehistoric men buried their dead and mourned them, but we didn’t know they also held ritualistic meals near their graves," Guy Bar-Oz from Haifa University’s Zinman Institute of Archaeology told Xinhua. Read more.
Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologists announced today the discovery of remains of a Neolithic settlement, mainly occupied between 8,000 and 4,000 BC, at an archaeological site near the present-day town of Eshtaol, Judean Shephelah.
“We can see distinctly a settlement that gradually became planned, which included alleys and buildings that were extremely impressive from the standpoint of their size and the manner of their construction,” said excavation co-director Dr Amir Golani and archaeologists from the IAA.
“We can clearly trace the urban planning and see the guiding hand of the settlement’s leadership that chose to regulate the construction in the crowded regions in the center of the settlement and allowed less planning along its periphery.” Read more.
Archaeologists have uncovered the oldest known palatial wine cellar in the Middle East at a site in Israel.
The storage room stocked at least 3,000 bottles’ worth of the intoxicating beverage in massive pottery jars, researchers report today (Nov. 22) at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research in Baltimore. The ancient wine bore little resemblance to the Bordeaux and Chianti of today — it was preserved and spiced with resin and herbs, including juniper, mint and myrtle.
The closest modern analogue is a Greek wine flavored with pine resin called retsina, study researcher Assaf Yasur-Landau of the University of Haifa, told reporters. Read more.
Archaeologists have unearthed traces of a previously unknown, 14th-century Canaanite city buried underneath the ruins of another city in Israel.
The traces include an Egyptian amulet of Amenhotep III and several pottery vessels from the Late Bronze Age unearthed at the site of Gezer, an ancient Canaanite city.
Gezer was once a major center that sat at the crossroads of trade routes between Asia and Africa, said Steven Ortiz, a co-director of the site’s excavations and a biblical scholar at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
The remains of the ancient city suggest the site was used for even longer than previously known. Read more.
Israel has returned a collection of 90 antiquities after discovering that the artifacts – presented for sale at auction - had been stolen, Egyptian authorities said on Monday.
The collection reportedly included clay vessels and vases, stelae and cultic figurines.
Antiquities theft is a huge problem for archaeologists. Not only are precious and irreplaceable remains of ancient cultures lost to science and humanity at large: often the timeline of digs are destroyed by robbers plowing through the layers with disregard for the historic record. Read more.
Archaeologists have unearthed a 5,000-year-old leopard trap in the Negev Desert in Israel.
The trap, which was found along with a 1,600-year-old trap, was originally thought to be just a few hundred years old, and is nearly identical to traps that have been used by desert-dwelling Bedouins in the area in the last century.
"The most exciting thing is the antiquity of these carnivore traps, which is totally unexpected," said study co-author Naomi Porat, a geochronologist with the Geological Survey of Israel.
The findings, described in the September issue of the journal Antiquity, suggest this technology has been used to lure carnivores since people first domesticated sheep and goats in the region. Read more.
The archaeological excavations being conducted at the site of ancient Gezer in northwestern Israel have recently revealed some tantalizing finds, one of which came as a surprise to excavators who just completed digging there during the summer of 2013.
"In this, the sixth season of excavation," reports co-directors Steven Ortiz of the Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary and Samuel Wolff of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "one goal was to remove a portion of the city wall built in the Iron IIA period (10th century BCE) in order to investigate a Late Bronze age destruction level (ca. 1400 BCE) that lay below it. To the surprise of the team, in the process of excavating the city wall, an earlier wall system dating to the Iron Age I (1200-1000 BCE) was discovered." Read more.