Hand grenade from World War I unearthed in Jerusalem

The grenade was uncovered in an ancient cistern by Oscar Becherno, director of the archaeological excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The cistern where the grenade was discovered in Jerusalem. (photo credit: OSCAR BECHERNO/ISRAEL ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY)
The cistern where the grenade was discovered in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: OSCAR BECHERNO/ISRAEL ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY)
Located in the heart of the city, Sacher Park is one of Jerusalemites’ most beloved locations, offering them the opportunity to stroll, jog, barbecue and play. However, a different kind of experience was awaiting the archaeologists working on a salvage excavation during renovations in the area: an encounter with a British hand grenade dating back to World War I.
The grenade was uncovered in an ancient cistern by Oscar Becherno, director of the archaeological excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
“This is a Mills 23 hand grenade, which was used by the British army in World War I,” said Assaf Peretz, an IAA weapons expert. “It seems that the grenade had already been found in the past and was thrown by a passerby into a cistern to bury it and remove the danger from the area.”
On the eve of World War I, Jerusalem was part of the Ottoman Empire. Jerusalem and the Land of Israel were conquered by the British in 1917-1918 and placed under British rule at the end of the conflict.
According to the law in Israel, a salvage excavation must be conducted prior to any construction project. The IAA, which is the body tasked with conducting these excavations, has worked in the area of Sacher Park in the past, uncovering agricultural installations, ancient burial caves and other remains.
The grenade was found during the work to improve Sacher Park, which is being carried out by the Jerusalem Development Authority and Moriah Company.
Over the past year, new playgrounds, sports fields, some 120 light poles, fountains, benches, picnic tables and trash cans were installed. Gardening and irrigation processes were improved, and 800 new trees were planted.