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(photo credit: Israel Antiquities Authority)
In a rare find, remnants of an ancient Israelite city that dates back three thousand years have been uncovered during excavations in the Israeli Arab village of Kfar Kana in the Lower Galilee, Israel's Antiquities Authority announced Monday.
The area, located north of Nazareth, is revered by Christians as the site where Jesus is said to have performed his first miracle.
The settlement being unearthed existed at the time of the United Kingdom of King Solomon and the Kingdom of Israel following the split between Israel and Judah, in the 10-9th centuries BCE.
A section of the ancient city wall and remains of buildings were exposed during recent excavations at the site, which began three months ago, the director of the excavation at the site, Yardenna Alexander said.
She added that evidence was found there indicating the place was destroyed during the 9th century BCE, probably by an enemy forces.
In addition to the wall, an assortment of pottery vessels, large quantities of animal bones, a scarab depicting a man surrounded by two crocodiles and a ceramic seal bearing the image of a lion were also discovered at the site.
Following the destruction the ancient Israelite city, the site was abandoned until its ruins were re-inhabited by Jewish settlers in the Early Roman period in the 1st century CE, Israel's top archaeological body said.
The identity of these residents as Galilean Jews is already known from previous excavations that were carried out at the site, and from historic information that identifies the settlement as "Kana of the Galilee" which is known from the New Testament as the site where Jesus performed his first miracle by turning water into wine at a Jewish wedding.
In the previous excavations at the site a few years ago, which identified the ancient Galilee settlement as Kana of the Galilee, archeologists discovered remnants of buildings, grinding stones, cooking ovens stone vessels and several Jewish ritual purification baths or mikvahs, one nearly 7 feet high with an arched roof.
Some of the ancient walls that were destroyed in the 9th century BCE were reused in the newer construction nearly one thousand years later in the 1st century CE and new floors were laid down.
The Jewish settlers built igloo-shaped pits on the ruins of the previous settlement, with the bedrock serving as the floor of the pit. A rock-hewn pit was discovered in one of the tunnels and in it were 11 complete storage jars characteristic of the second half of the 1st century CE.
Among the other antiquities discovered at the site include underground pits linked by short tunnels that were apparently built and hewn prior to the Great Revolt by the Jews against the Romans in 66 CE.
The pits are connected to each other by short tunnels which apparently were used as underground hiding places ahead of the revolt, Alexander noted.