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Ancient pottery workshop unveiled in Israel


Israeli archaeologists on Tuesday unveiled what they said was a major pottery plant which produced wine storage jars continuously from Roman to Byzantine times.

Ancient pottery workshop unveiled in Israel
An Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist checks a bathing place at a site from Byzantine time found during
a large excavation in the central Israeli town of Gedera near the ancient archaeological site of Tel Qatra
[Credit: Menahem Kahana/AFP]
The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said that excavations near the town of Gedera, south of Tel Aviv, revealed the factory and an adjacent leisure complex of 20 bathing pools and a room used for board games.

Ancient pottery workshop unveiled in Israel
Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists work at the Byzantine time site found during a large excavation
 in the central Israeli town of Gedera near the ancient archaeological site of Tel Qatra
[Credit: Menahem Kahana/AFP]
Excavation director Alla Nagorsky told journalists at the site that from the third century AD the plant produced vessels of a type known to historians as "Gaza" jars for an unbroken period of 600 years.

Ancient pottery workshop unveiled in Israel
An Israeli Antiquities Authority archaeologist inspects ceramic pieces from a Byzantine time found during a
large excavation in the central Israeli town of Gedera near the ancient archaeological site of Tel Qatra
[Credit: Menahem Kahana/AFP]
"This kind of a place is not built in an instant," she said. "An engineer worked on it. The site is very designed."

Ancient pottery workshop unveiled in Israel
An Israeli Antiquities Authority archaeologist shows a ceramic piece from a Byzantine time found during a large
excavation in the central Israeli town of Gedera near the ancient archaeological site of Tel Qatra
[Credit: Menahem Kahana/AFP]
An IAA statement added that the jars' main function was storage and shipment of wine, which was a flourishing local industry at the time, with large-scale exports.

Ancient pottery workshop unveiled in Israel
An Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist shows shows pottery shreds with finger prints on them from the Byzantine time
found during a large excavation in the central Israeli town of Gedera near the ancient archaeological site of Tel Qatra
[Credit: Menahem Kahana/AFP]
"The continuous production of these jars probably indicates that the business was a family one, which passed from generation to generation to generation," the IAA said in a statement.

Ancient pottery workshop unveiled in Israel
An Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist shows ceramic household utensils from the Byzantine time found during
 a large excavation in the central Israeli town of Gedera near the ancient archaeological site of Tel Qatra
[Credit: Menahem Kahana/AFP]
It said the remains of around 100,000 jars found buried at the site were probably discarded rejects.

Ancient pottery workshop unveiled in Israel
An Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist shows zoomorphic items from the Byzantine time found during
a large excavation in the central Israeli town of Gedera near the ancient archaeological site of Tel Qatra
[Credit: Menahem Kahana/AFP]
Alongside the factory, it added, were two Byzantine bathhouses, at least one with a heating boiler and 20 "finely constructed" pools, connected to one another by channels and pipes.

Ancient pottery workshop unveiled in Israel
An Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist cleans a mosaic floor at a site from the Byzantine time found during
a large excavation in the central Israeli town of Gedera near the ancient archaeological site of Tel Qatra
[Credit: Menahem Kahana/AFP]
"The archaeologists consider that the water complex served both the local population and the many travellers along the ancient main road connecting the port of Gaza with the centre of the country," the statement said.

Ancient pottery workshop unveiled in Israel
Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Alla Nagorsky shows Byzantine time bathing place found during
a large excavation in the central Israeli town of Gedera near the ancient archaeological site of Tel Qatra
[Credit: Menahem Kahana/AFP]
Gaza City lies about 30 miles (48 kilometres) southwest of Gedera, on the Mediterranean coast. During its long history, Gaza has been ruled by the Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, Mamluks and Ottomans.

Ancient pottery workshop unveiled in Israel
Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Alla Nagorsky shows a 1600 year-old Mancala game from the Byzantine time
 found during a large excavation in the central Israeli town of Gedera near the ancient archaeological site of Tel Qatra
 [Credit: Menahem Kahana/AFP]
At Gedera, the IAA said, the games room was "a rare and surprising discovery". In it were boards used for playing backgammon and "mancala", games which are still popular in the area.

Ancient pottery workshop unveiled in Israel
Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Alla Nagorsky shows a 1600 year-old Mancala game from the Byzantine time
found during a large excavation in the central Israeli town of Gedera near the ancient archaeological site of Tel Qatra
[Credit: Menahem Kahana/AFP]
The statement said the Gedera pottery works may have built the leisure centre for its employees, just as today's hi-tech companies provide recreation facilities for their workers.

Source: AFP [July 31, 2018]

TANN

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