Archeology: pieces of an 1,500-year-old ceramic oil lamp discovered by Israeli students.
(photo credit: ACHIEH COHEN/TAVOR)
A 1,500-year-old ceramic oil lamp from the Talmudic period has been discovered in an archeological dig conducted by pupils from Ben-Zion Netanyahu Elementary School in the Barkan region of the West Bank in cooperation with Ariel University’s archeology department.
First- through sixth-graders have been working with archeologists in weekly excavations over the past two years. The aim “is to help to connect the pupils to their heritage, land and collective history,” said a statement from the university issued on Sunday.
Ariel University archeologist Achia Kohn-Tavor, who is in charge of the excavations, said in a statement: “The light from the oil lamp in those days was a lot like a tribal campfire, around which members of the family would sit from the moment the sun set.”
“These pieces of the oil lamp that was found are important for us because they are a good representation of quality craftsmanship from that time – they can also give us an insight into how people were living during the Talmudic period.”
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Kohn-Tavor told The Jerusalem Post
that the lamps were both for portable and home use: “On Shabbat, families would gather around the oil lamp as a means of promoting family togetherness on Friday night, as was dictated by Halacha [Jewish law]. And during the week, the lamps were also used for traveling on unlit roads at night.”
Regarding the weekly excavations with the elementary school pupils, Kohn-Tavor said: “We give them a chance to dig in the dirt and they find some really amazing stuff, sometimes better than adult groups.”
The pupils who found the lamps were fourth-graders Yoav Muskati, Daniel Ben Ami and Ido Haim.
“I wasn’t expecting to dig up something 1,500 years old” Muskati said in a statement released by the Ariel University.
“I imagined a family like ours today, without electricity, using this,” he said. “I imagined the children, how they felt in the dark. It is all very exciting.”
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