A family hike turned into an unexpected walk through time when, following last weekend’s downpours, a well-preserved 1,500-year-old Byzantine-era jug became unearthed near a riverbed in the North’s Beit She’an National Park.The rare antiquity was discovered by the Avidor and Armon families earlier this week, the Antiquities Authority said Tuesday.“We walked and stopped to rest on the slope,” recalled Tamar Armon. “As archeological enthusiasts, we read signs along the route saying that in the past they have found clay relics here. And here we were able to discover for ourselves such a finding – something 1,500 years old!” According to Dr. Walid Atrash, an archeologist from the authority, the jug dates back to the 6th or 7th century CE and was likely used to store wheat and legumes.
“Not far from the area it was discovered, a magnificent church and an ancient cemetery are known, and it is quite possible that the pitcher was placed in one of the graves as part of the ritual customs of the dead and was swept into the area with time,” he said on Tuesday.The families transferred the jug to the authority and will receive a certificate of appreciation, said Nir Distelfeld, an inspector at its Robbery Prevention Unit. “We congratulate the family for their alertness and for demonstrating good citizenship,” he said. “The heavy rains that descended in the Beit She’an area unearthed the land of the site, known for its antiquities, and it is natural that findings emerged from the past,” Distelfeld said, noting the importance of promptly contacting the authority after such a discovery.“It is very important to report to the Israel Antiquities Authority about finding an antiquity in real-time, and to keep it in its place so that the archeologists can produce the most historical information from the field,” he said.