Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Hellenistic-era pots excavated in Israeli cliff-cave

SPELEOLOGICAL ARCHAEOLOGY: Ancient pottery vessels salvaged intact from cave in northern Israel. Large wine jars, a cooking pot and other pottery vessels over 2000 years old were salvaged over the weekend in a complex operation from a cave on a cliff in a nature reserve near the northern border (IAA press release).
The excavators climbed up ropes into the cave and in a coordinated and strenuous effort in a confined space succeeded in carrying out an archaeological excavation, in the course of which two intact wine amphoras (jars), several storage jars, a bowl, a cooking pot, two juglets and broken shards of several more jars were dug out. The fragile vessels were wrapped in a protective plastic sheet and were lowered in padded bags some 30m over rope slides controlled from below and reached the base of the cliff safely. The team carried the finds on foot to the cars and they were taken to an Israel Antiquities Authority facility for restoration and research.

According to Dr. Danny Syon of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “as a first impression, the finds seem to date to the Hellenistic period—between the 3rd and 1st centuries BCE. Considering that cooking and serving vessels were found, it would appear that those who brought them planned to live there for a while. We assume that whoever hid here escaped some violent event that occurred in the area. Perhaps by dating the vessels more closely, we shall be able to tie them to a known historic event. It is mind boggling how the vessels were carried to the cave, which is extremely difficult to access. Maybe an easier way that once existed disappeared over time.”

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