Archaeologists Find 2,150-Year-Old Intact Wine Jars, Cooking Pot in Israeli Cave

by johnsmith

Archaeologists working in northern Israel recently found well-preserved wine amphorae (jars), a cooking pot and other pottery vessels dating back some 2,300-2,000 years.

Dr. Danny Syon (right) and Dr. Yinon Shivtiel in a cave in northern Israel. Image credit: Omri Gester.

Dr. Danny Syon (right) and Dr. Yinon Shivtiel in a cave in northern Israel. Image credit: Omri Gester.

“In 2017, we conducted a survey in Western Galilee to locate caves that served as shelters and hiding places,” said Dr. Yinon Shivtiel, a speleologist and senior lecturer at the Zefat Academic College.

“In the course of the survey we were surprised to discover a cave high on a sheer cliff, under an overhang, which contained ancient pottery vessels.”

About a week ago, Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Dr. Danny Syon joined Dr. Shivtiel to carry out an excavation of the cave and salvage the vessels so that they can be studied.

The researchers climbed up ropes into the cave and in a coordinated and strenuous effort in a confined space succeeded in carrying out an archaeological excavation.

They unearthed two intact wine jars, several storage jars, a bowl, a cooking pot, two juglets and broken shards of several more jars.

“As a first impression, the finds seem to date to the Hellenistic period — between the 3rd and 1st centuries BC,” Dr. Syon said.

“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,” he noted.

“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,” Dr. Syon said.

“Maybe an easier way that once existed disappeared over time.”

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