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Hellenistic-era farmstead uncovered in Eastern Galilee


A well-preserved 2100-year-old, Hellenistic Hasmonean period agricultural farmstead containing finds that may have been abandoned in haste was uncovered at Horbat Assad next to Nahal Abel in Eastern Galilee. Excavations carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority before the Mekorot Company project to transfer desalinated water to the Kinneret 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 BCE.


Hellenistic-era farmstead uncovered in Eastern Galilee
Galilee Farmstead [Credit: Emil Aladjem, Israel Antiquities Authority]



The excavation was financed with the assistance of Mekorot to promote the NIS 910 million Northern Carrier project under a government resolution. Its objective is to carry desalinated water to the basin to maintain the water level and anchor a continuous water supply for households, agriculture, and neighboring countries.


Hellenistic-era farmstead uncovered in Eastern Galilee
Excavations at a Hellenistic-era farmstead uncovered in the Galilee during salvage
excavations ahead of a pipe bring desalinized water to the Sea of Galilee
[Credit: Emil Aladjem, Israel Antiquities Authority]

According to Dr. Amani Abu-Hamid, Director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “We were fortunate to discover a time-capsule, frozen in time, in which the finds remained where the occupants of the site left them, and it seems that they left in haste in the face of impending danger, possibly the threat of a military attack. 


Hellenistic-era farmstead uncovered in Eastern Galilee
Tools made of iron found at a Hellenistic-era farmstead uncovered in the Galilee during
salvage excavations ahead of a pipe bring desalinized water to the Sea of Galilee
[Credit: Dafna Gazit, Israel Antiquities Authority]



The weaving loom weights were still on the shelf, and the storage jars were intact. We know from the historical sources that in this period, the Judean Hasmonean Kingdom expanded into 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.”


Hellenistic-era farmstead uncovered in Eastern Galilee
Figurine from the Hasmonean period from a Hellenistic-era farmstead uncovered in the Galilee
during salvage excavations ahead of a pipe bring desalinized water to the Sea of Galilee
[Credit: Miri Bar, Israel Antiquities Authority]

In addition, the foundations of buildings, pottery vessels, and other finds dating to the Iron Age, the 10-9th centuries BCE, were uncovered.


Hellenistic-era farmstead uncovered in Eastern Galilee
Excavations at a Hellenistic-era farmstead uncovered in the Galilee during salvage
excavations ahead of a pipe bring desalinized water to the Sea of Galilee
[Credit: Emil Aladjem, Israel Antiquities Authority]



VP Development and Customers Department at Mekorot, Avi Malul: “Mekorot’s development work in coordination with the Israel Antiquities Authority is already in the general planning stage. The Antiquities Authority’s work at the site is for the strategic project to transport surplus water from the desalination plants in central Israel to the north and Kinneret.”


Hellenistic-era farmstead uncovered in Eastern Galilee
Hellenistic-era farmstead uncovered in the Galilee during salvage excavations
ahead of a pipe bring desalinized water to the Sea of Galilee
[Credit: Assaf Peretz, Israel Antiquities Authority]

Eli Eskozido, Director-General of the Israel Antiquities Authority: “This interesting and significant find came to light in the excavation carried out before the implementation of the Mekorot water project. The Israel Antiquities Authority and Mekorot cooperate to preserve the farmstead, at the site itself or in the immediate vicinity.”


Source: The Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority [May 26, 2022]



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