A lunar-crescent-shaped stone monument that dates back around 5,000 years has been identified in Israel.
Located about 8 miles (13 kilometers) northwest of the Sea of Galilee, the structure is massive — its volume is about 14,000 cubic meters (almost 500,000 cubic feet) and it has a length of about 150 meters (492 feet), making it longer than an American football field. Pottery excavated at the structure indicates the monument dates to between 3050 B.C. and 2650 B.C., meaning it is likely older than the pyramids of Egypt. It was also built before much of Stonehenge was constructed.
Archaeologists previously thought the structure was part of a city wall, but recent work carried out by Ido Wachtel, a doctoral student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, indicates there is no city beside it and that the structure is a standing monument. Read more.
The Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Tuesday that it is joining forces with the Rockefeller Museum, Israel Museum, and Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library to create an “Internet archeological museum accessible at the touch of a button.” In a statement, the IAA said the site will feature some 2,500 rare artifacts, representing “the most important archaeological collections in the Middle East.”
The site, located at http://www.antiquities.org.il/t/, also offers a selection of published antiquities from the collections of the National Treasures, and is updated regularly with new artifacts, the IAA said.
The antiquities on the site are arranged both chronologically and typologically, according to the type of artifact, the IAA said. “This is a big project for the Israel Antiquities Authority… to provide free access to the archaeological treasures from any screen connected to the Internet,” the organization said. (source)
In 1934, American archaeologist Nelson Glueck named one of the largest known copper production sites of the Levant “Slaves’ Hill.” This hilltop station, located deep in Israel’s Arava Valley, seemed to bear all the marks of an Iron Age slave camp – fiery furnaces, harsh desert conditions, and a massive barrier preventing escape. New evidence uncovered by Tel Aviv University archaeologists, however, overturns this entire narrative.
In the course of ongoing excavations at Timna Valley, Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef and Dr. Lidar Sapir-Hen of TAU’s Department of Archaeology and Near Eastern Cultures analyzed remnants of food eaten by copper smelters 3,000 years ago. The result of this analysis, published in the journal Antiquity, indicates that the laborers operating the furnaces were in fact skilled craftsmen who enjoyed high social status and adulation. Read more.
Israel isn’t particularly famous for its wine today, but four thousand years ago, during the Bronze Age, vineyards in the region produced vintages that were prized throughout the Mediterranean and imported by the Egyptian elite.
Last summer, archaeologists discovered a rare time capsule of this ancient drinking culture: the world’s oldest known wine cellar, found in the ruins of a sprawling palatial compound in Upper Galilee.
The mud-brick walls of the room seem to have crumbled suddenly, perhaps during an earthquake. Whatever happened, no one came to salvage the 40 wine jars inside after the collapse; luckily for archaeologists, the cellar was left untouched for centuries. Read more.
A Late Second Temple Period Jewish settlement with a trove of rare bronze coins inside one of its houses has been discovered in Israel.
The 114 bronze coins, which were found inside a ceramic money box and hidden in the corner of a room, date to the fourth year of the Great Revolt of the Jews against the Romans — an uprising that destroyed the Temple on Tisha B’Av about 2,000 years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) reported today (Aug. 5).
"The hoard, which appears to have been buried several months prior to the fall of Jerusalem, provides us with a glimpse into the lives of Jews living on the outskirts of Jerusalem at the end of the rebellion," Pablo Betzer and Eyal Marco, excavation directors on behalf of the IAA, said in a statement. Read more.
An ancient skeleton unearthed in Israel may contain the oldest evidence of brain damage in a modern human.
The child, who lived about 100,000 years ago, survived head trauma for several years, but suffered from permanent brain damage as a result, new 3D imaging reveals.
Given the brain damage, the child was likely unable to care for himself or herself, so people must have spent years looking after the little boy or girl, according to the researchers who analyzed the 3D images. People from the child’s group left funerary objects in the youngster’s burial pit as well, the study authors said. Read more.
Archaeologists are now onsite at Tel Megiddo, in northern Israel, to continue large-scale excavations at what has often been called the “crown jewel” of archaeological sites of the Levant, or Eastern Mediterranean region.
Led by well-known archaeologists Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University and Eric Cline of the George Washington University, a team of archaeologists, students, volunteers and other specialists will be excavating where they left off in 2012, when they encountered a large building featuring 18 pillars dated to the Iron Age IIA period, (around 1000 BCE). South of the building they uncovered a hoard of six iron daggers and two bronze bowls, dating to the Iron Age I (1200 - 1000 BCE). Read more.
Teams of archaeologists, students and volunteers will return this month to the site of ancient Jaffa on the central coast of Israel to pick up where they left off in 2013, when they uncovered more of the sensational evidence of a fiery destruction at the site’s ancient Amarna period New Kingdom Egyptian fortress gate. The continuing investigations will also include new elements — the search for the ancient harbor complex, and excavation of evidence of a 14th century B.C. destruction layer at the remains of the site’s Lion Temple.
Under the direction of project co-directors Aaron Burke, Associate Professor of the Archaeology of Ancient Israel at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Martin Peilstöcker of the Isral Antiquities Authority, one team will continue the excavations at the famous fourteenth century B.C. Egyptian fortress gate complex, where in 2013 they uncovered the stark remains of an extensive violent destruction. Read more.