The team headed by Dr Rina Avner has uncovered remains of a settlement dating to Byzantine period (4-6th centuries CE).
Among other finds, the site has yielded a main building – a large hall about 12 m long x 8.5 m wide.
“Its ceiling was apparently covered with roof tiles. The hall’s impressive opening and the breathtaking mosaic that adorns its floor suggest that the structure was a public building,” the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement.
“The well-preserved mosaic is decorated with geometric patterns and its corners are enhanced with amphorae – jars used to transport wine, a pair of peacocks, and a pair of doves pecking at grapes on a tendril. These are common designs that are known from this period. However, what makes this mosaic unique is the large number of motifs that were incorporated in one carpet.” Read more.
The initial discovery was made by Benjamin Troper, the training coordinator of the Kfar Etzion field school, who suddenly, while aiding a troubled tourist down a deep cave south of Jerusalem, turned to look at the nearby wall and saw an ancient stone column.
“I had gone down that hole dozens of times,” Tropper told Makor Rishon, “but this was the first time, because I was helping the tourist, that I came down looking in that direction.”
What he saw was a bona fide ancient column with a crown, which he recognized from his years as tour guide and from the time he spent working in excavating ancient Jerusalem.
That’s the story of a remarkably rare archeological discovery, which no one has heard about. For some reason, possibly political, the Israeli authorities have been trying to silence this discovery which could usher in a breakthrough in our understanding of the periods of King David and his son, King Solomon. Read more.
An archaeological excavation conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority near a highway construction site in the Kiryat Menachem neighborhood of Jerusalem, unearthed a rare ritual bath (mikve), dating back to the late Second Temple period.
“We started [the excavation] one week before Passover and ended the day after the holiday,” said Benyamin Storchan, director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Storchan added that while numerous ritual baths have been excavated in Jerusalem in recent years, the water-supply system his team uncovered is “unique and unusual.” Read more.
A giant “monumental” stone structure discovered beneath the waters of the Sea of Galilee in Israel has archaeologists puzzled as to its purpose and even how long ago it was built.
The mysterious structure is cone shaped, made of “unhewn basalt cobbles and boulders,” and weighs an estimated 60,000 tons the researchers said. That makes it heavier than most modern-day warships.
Rising nearly 32 feet (10 meters) high, it has a diameter of about 230 feet (70 meters). To put that in perspective, the outer stone circle of Stonehenge has a diameter just half that with its tallest stones not reaching that height.
It appears to be a giant cairn, rocks piled on top of each other. Structures like this are known from elsewhere in the world and are sometimes used to mark burials. Researchers do not know if the newly discovered structure was used for this purpose. Read more.
Situated in the western Galilee region of present-day Israel, Manot Cave lies about 10 km north of the Hayonim Cave site and 50 km northeast of the well-known Mt. Carmel cave sites. Although less-known than the well-publicized prehistoric “sister” sites of Qafzeh and Kebara, the cave has recently yielded evidence of human occupation dated back to at least Upper Paleolithic times, when early modern humans and Neanderthals are suggested to have coexisted around the Mediterranean and further north into present-day Europe.
Adding to evidence uncovered at other similar locations, scientists hope that the finds of the cave will help elucidate the story of early modern human and Neanderthal existence in the Levant, and perhaps even help answer questions related to one possible stage in the spread of modern humans from Africa to Europe. Read more.
Some remarkable traces of Stone Age life were unearthed recently in northern Israel, including a pit of burned bean seeds and a carving of a penis that’s more than 6,000 years old, the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) reported.
Archaeologists are excavating at Ahihud Junction ahead of the construction of a new Israeli railroad line to the city of Karmiel. They found evidence of ancient settlements from two eras: the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period and the Early Chalcolithic period (7th millennium B.C. – 5th millennium B.C.).
“For the first time in the country, entire buildings and extensive habitation levels were exposed from these early periods, in which the rich material culture of the local residents was discovered,” IAA excavation directors, Yitzhak Paz and Ya’akov Vardi, said in a statement this month. Read more.
Archaeologists in southern Israel say they’ve uncovered a young donkey that was carefully laid to rest on its side more than 3,500 years ago, complete with a copper bridle bit in its mouth and saddle bags on its back.
Its accessories — and the lack of butchery marks on its bones — lead researchers to believe the venerated pack animal was sacrificed and buried as part of a Bronze Age ritual.
Donkeys were valuable beasts of burden in the ancient Near East. Donkey caravans helped open up vast trade networks across the Levant and Anatolia in the 18th and 17th centuries B.C., according to archives from Amorite settlements like Mari in modern-day Syria. Read more.
Tel Aviv — Researchers have long been fascinated by the secrets of Ramat Rahel, located on a hilltop above modern-day Jerusalem. The site of the only known palace dating back to the kingdom of Biblical Judah, digs have also revealed a luxurious ancient garden. Since excavators discovered the garden with its advanced irrigation system, they could only imagine what the original garden might have looked like in full bloom — until now.
Using a unique technique for separating fossilized pollen from the layers of plaster found in the garden’s waterways, researchers from Tel Aviv University’s Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology have now been able to identify what grew in the ancient royal gardens of Ramat Rahel. And based on the garden’s archaeological clues, they have been able to reconstruct the layout of the garden. Read more.