Archaeology
An image of ancient terraces, Geography of Israel

Archaeologists uncover 2,300-year-old village on road to Jerusalem



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An image of ancient terraces, Geography of Israel
Leigh Goessl's image for:
"Archaeologists uncover 2,300-year-old village on road to Jerusalem"
Caption: An image of ancient terraces, Geography of Israel
Location: Israel
Image by: Dror Feitelson
© Creative Commons/Attribution http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PikiWiki_Israel_33186_ancient_terraces.JPG

In a remarkable find, Israeli archaeologists have announced they have found evidence of a 2,300-year-old village. The ancient village was found in June 2013 along a stretch of pathway known as "Burma Road", a road that leads to Jerusalem, according to Haaretz. It was uncovered during excavations being performed to install a large natural gas pipeline. Once found, officials were called in to check out the find, which was confirmed to be an ancient village. After concluding their 6-month examination of the remains, the Israel Antiquities Authority indicated Israel Natural Gas Lines, the agency in charge of the pipeline, said the archaeological site would be bypassed, reported Heritage Daily.

About the village

Described as being 8,000 square feet (750 square meters) in size, the ancient rural village consisted of stone houses and a series of narrow alleyways, reported The Jewish Voice. Experts say the village existed during the Second Temple period, from about 530 B.C.E. to 70 C.E. The homes were described being constructed of stone. It is believed each dwelling possessed several rooms, along with a courtyard and were designed for a nuclear family.

"The rooms generally served as residential and storage rooms, while domestic tasks were carried out in the courtyards," said Irina Zilberbod, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

How experts determined the village's age

During examination of the ancient village, archaeologists were able to find several factors that pinpointed to the village's history. For instance, over 60 coins were found which were from the period stretching from Seleucid King Antiochus III to Hasmonean King Alexander Jannaeus. Other artifacts found included basalt and limestone tools, wine containers, pottery cooking pots and oil lamps.

Experts said the village was most likely developed during the Hellenistic period, following the reign of Alexander the Great and was abandoned as the Hasmonean dynasty came to an end.

Who were the village's inhabitants?

While experts were able to determine a good amount of information about the village, the name of the ancient village is not known, and it appears this information may be lost to history. No information has been reported in press releases or the media relating to who constructed the town and who left it behind. What is known is that occupation of the village lasted about two centuries. It is believed, due to the positioning of the village, the inhabitants cultivated orchards and vineyards. Experts also indicated the village was likely abandoned over time and had not fallen victim of any violence. Experts indicate this would be aligned with other villages uncovered from the same era. Officials suggest the trend of abandoning villages may be connected to the villagers moving closer to Jerusalem to take part in Herod's large construction projects, including Temple Mount.

"The phenomenon of abandoning villages and farms at the end of the Hasmonean period or at the beginning of the reign of Herod the Great is known based on many rural sites in Judea," said Yuval Baruch, the Israel Antiquities Authority's Jerusalem director.

The Israel Antiquities Authority noted the site will be preserved and opened to the public.

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