ARIEL, West Bank (JTA) — The small cardboard box in Elyashiv Drori’s palm looks like it’s full of black pebbles.
Closing the box quickly, he explains that it cannot be open for long. The pebble-like pieces, which were uncovered in an archaeological dig near Jerusalem’s Old City, are in fact remains of a kilo of grapes stored nearly 3,000 years ago. They were preserved under layers of earth from the era when David and Solomon ruled over the Land of Israel.
Next to his laboratory at Ariel University, Drori — an oenophile who has judged international wine competitions — already has barrels of wine made from grapes that have grown in Israel for two millennia. Finding a living sample of the 3,000-year-old grapes will be the next step in his years-long quest to produce wine identical to that consumed in ancient Israel. Read more.
Israeli archaeologists recently dug up an ancient subterranean structure, parts of which date back to Roman times, just meters from the Temple Mount, Channel 10 reported Sunday.
“It’s one of the [most] impressive, beautiful and grand places found recently in Jerusalem,” Israel Antiquities Authority Jerusalem Region Archaeologist Yuval Baruch told the station.
“It is one of the most significant remains” found in Jerusalem in the last generation,” he said.
The ongoing excavations, which took place beneath the Western Wall plaza in the former Mughrabi Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, feature a Mamluk-era caravansary dating to the Middle Ages and remains of lavish public buildings from the Herodian period 20 meters (65 feet) from the Temple Mount. Read more.
A huge gold medallion and a trove of gold pieces went on display at the Israel Museum for the first time since their discovery last year at the base of the Temple Mount, the museum announced Monday.
The find, made last year by a Hebrew University team led by Professor Eilat Mazar near the Temple Mount’s Southern Wall, was dated to the early 7th century CE, in all likelihood the time of the brief Persian conquest of Jerusalem in 614 CE. It includes 36 gold Byzantine coins, gold bracelets, earrings, a silver ingot, a gold-plated hexagonal prism and the large golden medallion embossed with Jewish motifs. Read more.
While exploring ancient copper factories in southern Jordan, a team of archaeologists picked up an Egyptian amulet that bears the name of the powerful pharaoh Sheshonq I.
The tiny artifact could attest to the fabled military campaign that Sheshonq I waged in the region nearly 3,000 years ago, researchers say.
The scarab (called that because it’s shaped like a scarab beetle) was found at the copper-producing site of Khirbat Hamra Ifdan in the Faynan district, some 31 miles (50 kilometers) south of the Dead Sea. Read more.
Excavators carrying out an archaeological survey on the foothills south of Beit Shemesh recently stumbled upon an impressive finding which sheds light on a previously unknown, prosperous settlement in the region some 1,000 years ago.
The Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) said it “uncovered a large and impressive compound dating to the Byzantine period in Ramat Bet Shemesh,” which included near-perfectly preserved artifacts offering a rare glimpse into the daily lives of the ancient inhabitants.
During the survey blocked cisterns, a cave opening and the tops of several walls were fond visible on the surface. The subsequent excavations, funded by the Ministry of Construction and Housing revealed a vast compound surrounded by an outer wall and divided on the inside into two areas: an industrial area and an activity and residential area. Read more.
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.