From on high - 2,000-year-old pottery discovered in a cave on a cliff

Dr. Danny Sion (right) of the Israel Antiquities Authority and  Dr. Yinon Shivtiel of Safed Academic College in the cave. (photo credit: OMRI GESTER/ISRAEL ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY)
Dr. Danny Sion (right) of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Dr. Yinon Shivtiel of Safed Academic College in the cave.
(photo credit: OMRI GESTER/ISRAEL ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY)
A collection of pottery dating back over 2,000 years was found in a cave on a 30-meter cliff along the Lebanon border last week.
Large wine jugs, a cooking pot and other pottery vessels were salvaged in a group excavation with the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Safed Academic College and the Israel Cave Explorers Club, in an intricate excavation mission to the cave on a cliff face in a nature reserve near the Lebanon border.


The group began their survey of the western Galilee in 2017 under the leadership of Dr. Yinon Shivtiel, a speleologist (cave specialist) and senior lecturer in Land of Israel Studies at the Safed Academic College.
Just last week, the group completed its exploration of a northern cliff and uncovered the items.
Due to the proximity of the cave to the Lebanon border, the operation was coordinated with the IDF.
Upon discovering this collection of pottery, Dr. Danny Syon of the Israel Antiquities Authority said: “As a first impression, the finds seem to date back to the Hellenistic period – between the 3rd and 1st centuries BCE.”
Explaining the possible reason for the location of this pottery, Syon added: “Considering that cooking and serving vessels were found, it would appear that those who brought them planned to live there for a while. We assume that whoever hid here escaped some violent event that occurred in the area. Perhaps by dating the vessels more closely, we shall be able to tie them to a known historical event. It is mind boggling how the vessels were carried to the cave, which is extremely difficult to access. Maybe an easier way that once existed disappeared over time.”
Due to the challenging location of these objects, the excavators scaled the cliff using ropes, leading them into the cave.
Once the objects were gathered, they were wrapped in a protective plastic sheet, lowered in padded bags and carried down the cliff using a series of ropes in order for them to safely reach the ground.
Once the artifacts reached the ground, they were then taken to an Israel Antiquities Authority facility for restoration and research.