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Ancient Agricultural Farmstead Uncovered in Eastern Galilee

June 28, 2022

by: Israel Antiquities Authority

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The farmstead

A well preserved 2,100-year-old Hellenistic Hasmonean-period agricultural farmstead, containing finds that may have been abandoned in haste, was uncovered in the eastern Galilee. Excavations carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority [IAA] prior to the Mekorot Company project to transfer desalinated water to the Kinneret [Sea of Galilee], uncovered tens of loom weights used for weaving garments, large ceramic storage vessels and iron agricultural implements, including various picks and scythes. The coins retrieved date the farmstead to the second half of the second century BC.

According to Dr. Amani Abu-Hamid, director of the excavation on behalf of the IAA:

The excavation site

“We were very lucky to discover a time capsule, frozen in time, in which the finds remained where they were left by the occupants of the site, and it seems that they left in haste in [the] face of impending danger, possibly the threat of a military attack. The weaving loom weights were still on the shelf. The storage jars were intact. We know from the historical sources that in this period, the Judean Hasmonean kingdom expanded into the Galilee, and it is possible that the farmstead was abandoned in the wake of these events. More research is required to determine the identity of the inhabitants of the site.”

In addition, the foundations of buildings, pottery vessels and other finds dating to the Iron Age, the 10th to ninth centuries BC, were uncovered.

Eli Eskosido, General-Director of the IAA, said, “This interesting and significant find came to light in the course of the excavation carried out prior to the implementation of the Mekorot water project. The IAA and Mekorot are cooperating to preserve the farmstead, at the site itself or in the immediate vicinity.”

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