ADVANCED IMAGING TECHNOLOGY USED TO REVEAL HIDDEN OSTRACON INSCRIPTION
A multi-disciplinary team from Tel Aviv University led by Dr. Anat Mendel-Geberovich of the Department of Archaeology used advanced imaging technology to reveal a hitherto unnoticed inscription on a pottery shard. In the 1965 excavations at the First Temple Period Fortress of Tel Arad, the late professor Yohanan Aharoni found several ostraca, some of which were deciphered. The ancient site served as a military outpost on the southern border of the Kingdom of Judah. The ostracon is dated to circa 600 BCE, shortly before the Babylonians destroyed the Kingdom of Judah’s in 586 BCE.
On the verso, the text on the shard mentions money transfers, but the recto was considered blank. With multispectral imaging techniques, the team was able to decipher three lines, comprising 17 words. The letter was addressed to Elyashiv, the quartermaster of the Arad Fortress, and requests wine and food from the warehouses of the fortress for a certain military unit.
IRON AGE-PERSIAN PERIOD RESERVOIR CLOSE TO ROSH HA-‘AYIN
An elongated water cistern was found during an excavation directed by Gilad Itach from the Israel Antiquities Authority at a site located close to the modern city Rosh Ha-‘Ayin. The cistern (20 meters long and more than 4 meters wide) was hewn below a large building that was settled during the Late Iron Age Period and until the Persian Period. On the upper plaster layer graffiti of crosses, human figures and Arabic inscriptions were found. The cistern was part of an administrative farmstead that was built after the Assyrian conquest (721-720 BCE) of the area.
A JEWISH SETTLEMENT FROM THE ROMAN PERIOD AT BEIT NATTIF
A Jewish settlement dating from the Late Second Temple Period to the Bar-Kokhba Revolt was unearthed during rescue excavations directed by Sarah Hirshberg and Shua Kisilevitz from the Israel Antiquities Authority. The site lies some 500 meters to the west of Kh. Beit Nattif. Eight ritual baths, cisterns, and underground hiding complex from the second century Bar-Kokhba Revolt, along with rock-hewn industrial installations were found. The ancient buildings have not survived and their stones were taken to construct buildings in later periods since XXXX. This site is probably the one mentioned in historical sources as a capital of one of the Second Temple Period toparchies of Judea (Josephus, Jewish War, IV, 444–446; Pliny, Natural History, V, 70).
DIETARY HABITS IN JERUSALEM FROM THE SECOND TEMPLE PERIOD
More than 5,000 animal bones from Second Temple Period landfills from the City of David were analyzed by PhD candidate Abra Sapiciarich, under the supervision of Dr. Yuval Gadot and Dr. Lidar Sapir-Hen from Tel Aviv University’s Department of Archaeology, in cooperation with the Israel Antiquities Authority. The researchers discovered that the Jewish population preferred sheep and goats to chickens and cows, indicative of the dietary habits of Jewish residents in Jerusalem during that time. According to Sapir-Hen, pigeon bones were only found in landfills near the Temple Mount, and not farther away, in landfills from the City of David. This might indicate that pigeons were only used in religious rituals.
A 7TH CENTURY COIN HOARD NEAR JERUSALEM
A hoard of nine Byzantine Period bronze coins was uncovered during a salvage excavation close to ‘Ein Hemed. The excavation, directed by Annette Landes-Nagar from the Israel Antiquities Authority, exposed a large two-storey structure and an adjacent winepress that were part of a large complex, apparently serving Christian pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. The hoard was found near the wall of the building and was probably placed in a cloth purse that was concealed inside a hidden niche. The coins bear the images of three Byzantine emperors: Justinian (483-565 AD), Maurice (539-602 CE) and Phocas (547-610 CE). The hoard was probably hidden there before the Sassanid Persian invasion in 614 CE.
Dr Eitan Klein is the Deputy Director of the Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Looting in the Israel Antiquities Authority, an Archaeologist of the classical periods and a Lecturer at the Land of Israel Department at Ashqelon Academic College