Three elementary school students in a Kibbutz near Galilee discovered a 2,000-year-old clay candle near their school campus, Israel's Antiquities Authority announced Monday.
Discovered on the first night of Hanukkah – a prominent Jewish holiday with its own story about miraculous candles – the children were wandering around the Kibbutz when they noticed an interesting item affixed to the ground.
"At first we thought it was a special stone, so we pulled the object out of the ground," the children said. As soon as they noticed the item was an ancient candle, they shared the discovery with their parents.
"If it weren't for the children, we wouldn't know"
Israel’s Antiquities Authority stepped in after the children’s parents alerted them to the incredible find. They said the candle was coincidentally discovered near a site the Antiquities Authority was already excavating, meaning the discovery not only presented a new exciting finding, but also shed new light on the existing excavation.
“It is interesting that the children found the candle outside the area we are digging; The finding of the candle may give us a clue as to how far the borders of the ancient site reached. If it weren't for the children, we wouldn't know this,” explained Dr. Haim Mamalia, an archaeologist for Tiberias and Lower Galilee at the Antiquities Authority.
The inadvertent find may also shed light on the locale in which it was discovered. "From excavations conducted at the excavations of the site, as well as from the sources, it appears that Parod was a solid and established Jewish village,” says Dr. Einat Ambar-Armon, Director of Education and Community at the Antiquities Authority in the Northern Region and a researcher Candles.
The children were awarded certificates of good citizenship by the Antiquities Authority for their discovery and subsequent reporting to the authority.
"I congratulate the wise students, who discovered both a candle and (a sense of) good citizenship," Eli Eskosido, director of the Antiquities Authority, said. "Every year, thanks to the timing of the rains that hit us before and close to the Hanukkah holiday, we receive 'Hanukkah miracles' and amazing surprises, glimpses from above the ground.”
“I am full of appreciation for the citizens who show responsibility and hand over the findings they discovered, and also - to our employees, in their valuable activity among the community," Eskosido concluded.