A jug containing silver earrings and ingots has been discovered at the ancient biblical city of Abel Beth Maacah in Israel.
Found to the north of a massive structure that may be a tower, the jug and its treasure appear to date back to about 3,200 years ago, long before minted coins were invented, archaeologists said. Curiously, they found no sign that the treasure was hidden, and no one appears to have gone back for it, they added.
"We found it in a small jug leaning against a wall, apparently on a dirt floor," said researchers Robert Mullins, Nava Panitz-Cohen and Ruhama Bonfil in an email to Live Science. "It didn’t seem to have been deliberately hidden in a niche or any other hidey-hole." Read more.
On the outskirts of Jerusalem, archaeologists have discovered the remains of a 2,300-year-old rural village that dates back to the Second Temple period, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced.
Trenches covering some 8,000 square feet (750 square meters) revealed narrow alleys and a few single-family stone houses, each containing several rooms and an open courtyard. Among the ruins, archaeologists also found dozens of coins, cooking pots, milling tools and jars for storing oil and wine.
"The rooms generally served as residential and storage rooms, while domestic tasks were carried out in the courtyards,” Irina Zilberbod, the excavation director for the IAA, explained in a statement. Read more.
TAU archaeologists pinpoint the date when domesticated camels arrived in Israel
Camels are mentioned as pack animals in the biblical stories of Abraham, Joseph, and Jacob. But archaeologists have shown that camels were not domesticated in the Land of Israel until centuries after the Age of the Patriarchs (2000-1500 BCE). In addition to challenging the Bible’s historicity, this anachronism is direct proof that the text was compiled well after the events it describes.
Now Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef and Dr. Lidar Sapir-Hen of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Archaeology and Near Eastern Cultures have used radiocarbon dating to pinpoint the moment when domesticated camels arrived in the southern Levant, pushing the estimate from the 12th to the 9th century BCE. Read more.
Cavemen in ancient Israel not only buried their dead with flowers – they also apparently had an advanced culture of plant use, not only for consumption but for ritual as well.
The earliest evidence of using flower beds for burial, some 13,700 years ago, was reported in Raqefet Cave in Mt. Carmel last summer. In four different graves from the Natufian period, dating back to 13,700 to 11,700 years ago, dozens of impressions of salvia and other mint species were found under human skeletons.
Now Prof. Dani Nadel from the University of Haifa and his colleagues argue that use of plants in the Raqefet cave was much wider than for just burial rituals. Read more.
According to the Biblical account, the ancient fortified city of Lachish was for a time considered, after Jerusalem, the second-most important city in the Kingdom of Judah. Today, its ruins can be seen atop a prominent “tel” or mound located in the Shephelah lowland of Israel between Mount Hebron and the maritime Mediterranean coast.
The remains are a visible reminder of a city that represented a strength and glory ravaged through the military designs of advancing Assyrian and Babylonian armies long before the ancient Romans ever set foot in this country. It is best known as the location of a great siege by Assyrian king Sennacherib in 701 B.C.E. Read more.
An Israeli researcher says she has identified a nearly 2,000-year old textile that may contain a mysterious blue dye described in the Bible, one of the few remnants of the ancient color ever found.
Naama Sukenik of Israel’s Antiquities Authority said Tuesday that recent examination of a small woolen textile discovered in the 1950s found that the textile was colored with a dye from the Murex trunculus, a snail researchers believe was the source of the Biblical blue.
Researchers and rabbis have long searched for the enigmatic color, called tekhelet in Hebrew. The Bible commands Jews to wear a blue fringe on their garments, but the dye was lost in antiquity.
Sukenik examined the textile for a doctorate at Bar-Ilan University and published the finding at a Jerusalem conference Monday. (source)
A team of Israeli scientists have reported the discovery of a hominin (early human) occupation site near Nesher Ramla, Israel. The site, according to archaeologist Yossi Zaidner of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa and colleagues, presents evidence for human occupation or use during Middle Paleolithic times (about 300,000 to 40 - 50,000 years ago).
Unearthed were numerous finds that comprised an 8-meter deep sequence of “rich and well-preserved lithic [worked stone tool artifacts] and faunal assemblages [animal and early human bones], combustion features [features evidencing use or presence of fire], hundreds of manuports [natural objects moved from their original locations possibly by human agency] and ochre.” Read more.
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.