Galilee citizen gives rare finds to IAA National Treasures Department

Ahmad Nasser Yassin to get good citizenship certificate, saying he did what is expected from any law-abiding citizen. Official: he "contributed to the archeological puzzle of the Land of Israel."

By HEDDY BREUER ABRAMOWITZ
September 12, 2019 09:46
2 minute read.
Yassin with Middle Bronze age vessels

Yassin with Middle Bronze age vessels. (photo credit: Israel Antiquities Authority)

An electrician from the village of Arrabe in the Lower Galilee is to be awarded a certificate of appreciation for good citizenship for turning over rare finds to the National Treasures Department of the Antiquities Authority.

Ahmad Nasser Yassin, an Israeli-Arab, was walking , near his village on his way to do an electrical repair when something unusual caught his eye, so he stopped to see what it was. Upon examining the hunk of rock, it crumbled and he saw “some dishes with an antique look.”  Worried that they might get damaged sitting out in the open, he took them home and called the authority.

Nir Distelfeld, of the  authorities Theft Prevention Unit in the northern region, arrived at Yassin’s home to ascertain the nature of his discovery. Yassin right away turned the finds over to him.

Distelfeld called the items “exciting.” He estimates that the items are from the Middle Bronze Age, about 4,500 years ago, and that they were probably buried to accompany the deceased in the world to come, as was characteristic of funeral practices of this period.

The items included storage vessels, a pouring vessel and a copper dagger blade. The rounded dishes are typical of northern ceramics of the era. It is likely that the blade had been attached to a wooden handle with nails.

Distelfeld commended Yassin for his responsible conduct and for showing good citizenship of the highest level from the start, earning him recognition from the authority. He said Yassin told him that “others had said he was a sucker for handing over the antiquities to the state, but that he chose to follow the proper path that would be expected from any law-abiding citizen. Yassin knew it wasn’t his personal property, but [that it] was part of the public heritage and that it needed to go to trusted professionals who handle antiquities.”

According to the Antiquities Authority official, “[In] the burial cave that Ahmad accidentally found, we discovered an [archaeological] period that was unknown in the research done for this area.” By making the responsible choice, he “contributed to the archaeological puzzle of the Land of Israel.”

It was also suggested by Distelfeld that, should the head of the regional council be interested, perhaps an archaeological display of the finds could be put up in Arrabe, so that everyone could learn about the village’s local history.


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