Osnat Lester, who lives in a village near the Sea of Galilee, received a remarkable inheritance from a relative of hers who was a fisherman for many years. As the man went about his work day fishing in the Mediterranean Sea, he apparently amassed quite a collection of interesting artifacts. It turns out some of these items date back thousands of years.
Lester, of Poriya Ilit, had the items stored in crates in her basement. She decided to call the Israel Antiquities Authority to come see these items she wanted to put up for donation, reported The Blaze. Two experts came to her home and what they found was a true archaeological treasure.
The collection the woman inherited reportedly contained a number of well-preserved pieces of pottery from various eras spanning history. Many of the items were fully intact, although there were a number of fragments as well, reported the Jerusalem Post. The earthenware was described as "clearly ancient and rare."
What was in the collection?
One piece amazingly dates back about 3,000 years and is believed to have served as a storage vessel that was made in the late Biblical period. The vessel contained high basket handles and was an impressive size. Other items included earthenware from the Roman era, estimated to be about 2,000 years old, and 1,500-year-old pieces from the Byzantine period. Experts believe these pottery pieces held wine, oils, foods and other items. The pottery pieces contained pits, which is characteristic of being underwater for long periods of time.
Experts suggest the items landed underwater during shipwrecks and remained there until they were fished out centuries later. They are excited about what they can potentially learn about ancient civilizations by examining these items, perhaps unlocking some mysteries.
History under the sea
In ancient times, Israel was a central location for trade and business. Many of these ships met their demise in the ports and left behind treasure troves of items for future generations to find. Over the years, many items have been found in these, and other waters, located in a number of regions. For instance, last year, it was reported preserved foods in jars were found off the Italian coast in a 2,000-year-old shipwreck. This find occurred in an area where fishermen had been discovering artifacts for decades.
Experts say there is much more to likely be discovered under the water in areas that housed civilizations over the centuries or served as trade routes.
With this recent find, did the fisherman who left behind this treasure even know what he had collected?
"He was a naïve fisherman whose entire world was fishing," Lester said, according to Haaretz. "He loved whatever he drew from the water. The fish he ate, and the vessels he kept. He thought they were pretty and could perhaps decorate the house. He never imagined that they were ancient vessels. When I saw them, I also thought they were perhaps 100 years old."
Lester plans to donate these items, and officials reportedly thanked her for being a "Good Samaritan." They say these artifacts will be displayed in museums for all to see. All Lester asks in return is that officials tell her where the vessels will be displayed; this way her grandchildren can go and see them.