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Ancient well unearthed in northern Tel Aviv
February 5, 2014 12:01
Rare and advanced water drawing system discovered by Israel Antiquities Authority in Ramat Hahayal neighborhood.


A 1500 year old well and reservoir were discovered during an archaeological salvage operation in Tel Aviv's Ramat Hahayal neighborhood, the Israel Antiquities Authority reported Wednesday.

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The archaeologists on site were surprised and very pleased to discover that the well, dating back to ancient Byzantine and Islamic periods, was a rare example of a relatively technologically advanced water system known as an "Antilla" system.

An 'Antilla' well is a system that implements an animal such as a donkey, a wheel, and pottery vessels ('Antillas') to pump the water out of the ground and pour it into a reservoir nearby. This is far more advanced than the usual system in which the water is drawn manually with a rope and bucket, a very difficult task.

A number of 'Antilla' wells have been found in Israel over the years, most of which date back to the Roman period. According to the IAA, most of these water systems have been found along the coastal area- Tel Ashdod, Yavne, and Akko.

According to Eli Hadad, the archaeologist heading the dig in Ramat Hahayal, the discovery lends an important insight into the day to day life in the Yarkon river area 1,400 years ago.

The mouth of the well was discovered approximately 150 meters away from the shore of the Yarkon river and, according to the archaeologists, its advanced pumping system was used to supply the residents of the area with plenty of water not only for personal use, but for agriculture use as well. The depth of the water hole is more than 9 meters, deep enough to reach groundwater, and the width is 3.5 meters.

The conveyor-belt-like water carrying system was made of wood and thus disintegrated with time, yet the grooves for the wheel and supports remain to tell the tale. In addition, a large two-roomed reservoir, countless pottery shards and ancient plaster coatings were dug up.

The Ramat Hahayal neighborhood is rich in archaeological value, the IAA reported. Numerous interesting sites have been uncovered such as ancient wineries from the Byzantine period and burial sites.

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