Emergency Antiquities Authority storm excavation saves ancient jug off Israeli coast

February 12, 2015 19:23

The jug, dating between 4-6 century AD, is approximately 1.5 meters high and 1.5 m. in diameter, and a remnant from a once prosperous Byzantine coastal community.

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THE ANCIENT clay jug rescued in Yavne-Yam during Wednesday’s storm.. (photo credit:Israel Antiquities Authority)

An emergency excavation carried out on the southern coast during this week’s storm saved a rare, partially exposed Byzantine-era clay jug from certain destruction, the Antiquities Authority said on Thursday.

According to the authority’s Emergency Excavation Unit, the jug, which was located Wednesday near a cliff off the Mediterranean in the Yavne-Yam archeological site, 15 km. south of Tel Aviv, was initially spotted by a National Parks employee who promptly notified Antiquities Authority officials.

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A regional crew of workers quickly arrived to safely extricate the jug before it fell into the sea, the authority said.

The jug, dating between the fourth and sixth centuries CE, is approximately 1.5 meters high, 1.5 m. in diameter, and a remnant from a once prosperous Byzantine coastal community, the Antiquities Authority’s Isaac Mermelstein said.

“Yavne-Yam, as well as other coastal cities in Israel, enjoyed prosperity during the Byzantine period,” he said, adding that the jug likely was utilized in one of the many warehouses from that period located on the coastline to store liquids, including oil and perfume. Many more are likely in the area, he said.

Yavne-Yam, which was first settled in the Middle Bronze Age (2200 BCE) and inhabited until the Middle Ages, has been the source of many maritime antiquities, including shipwrecks, fishing equipment and storage jars dating back to the Late Bronze Age and the Ottoman period, he said.

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