(photo credit: University of Haifa)
An ancient bronze signet ring excavated recently in Tel Dor, near Zichron
Ya’acov, indicates that well-heeled elites were living in the area during the
Hellenistic era, archaeologists from the University of Haifa reported on
The rare find at the major port bears an intricate impression of
Apollo, the Greek god of the sun, light, and music. According to
Dr. Ayelet Gilboa, head of the university’s Department of Archeology, “A
piece of highquality art such as this, doubtlessly created by a top-of-the-line
artist, indicates that local elites developing a taste for fine art and the
ability to afford it were also living in provincial towns, and not only in the
capital cities of the Hellenistic kingdoms.”
The true nature of the find
was only revealed after it was taken to be examined by Dr. Jessica
Nitschke, professor of classical archeology at Georgetown University in
Washington and Dr. Rebecca Martin, assistant professor of art at Southeast
Missouri State University. Upon further examination, both scholars confirmed
that the image on the ring is that of Apollo.
The signet ring dates to
the 4th or 3rd century BCE.Rings of its type were used as seal or as an
offering to the god whose image adorns them.
Unlike the Apollo
signet, most similar pieces of art from the area were displaced over time by
traders or collectors, making it hard to trace their
Archeologists who found the signet said that it signifies that
the region was a cosmopolitan area as far back as 2,300 years ago and that
luxurious objects were not limited only to the capital cities of the Hellenistic
kingdoms , such as Antioch or Alexandria, but also existed in places like
Dor , where the population was predominantly local Phoenicians. It was found in the same area as a gemstone bearing the image of
Alexander the Great and an intricate Hellenistic mosaic floor, both of which
were unearthed during earlier excavations. These finds were all linked to a
structure that is now undergoing excavations, and which archeologists believe
constitutes a grand structure.
Dor was an important Mediterranean shore
from 2000 BCE to 250 CE and was at one point one of the centers of Greek
in the Land of Israel. The area has been the site of ongoing excavations
around 30 years and is in the process of being selected as a national
the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.
The archeological teams excavating
the area include professors from Haifa and from the Hebrew University,
as educators from the University of Washington in Seattle and St.
University in Philadelphia.
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