City Notes 333367

Archeologists dig up 3,700-year-old royal wine cellar, possibly one of world’s oldest.

Tel Kabri archaeological excavation 521 (photo credit: Eric H. Cline/George Washington University)
Tel Kabri archaeological excavation 521
(photo credit: Eric H. Cline/George Washington University)
A 3,700-year-old royal wine cellar was recently unearthed in archeological excavations carried out by the University of Haifa in cooperation with American researchers, possibly the largest and oldest wine cellar in the Near East. The discovery was made at the 30-hectare (75-acre) site of Tel Kabri near Nahariya, which contains the remains of a Canaanite city from the Middle Bronze Age.
The excavations of the palace where the city’s rulers dwelled are co-directed by Assaf Yasur-Landau of the University of Haifa and Eric H. Cline of George Washington University (GW), with Andrew Koh of Brandeis University as associate director. During the excavations, researchers discovered a 90-cm.-long jar, which they later named “Bessie.”
“We dug and dug, and all of a sudden, Bessie’s friends started appearing – five, 10, 15, ultimately 40 jars packed in a 15-by-25-foot storage room,” said Cline, chair of GW’s Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations within the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. “This is a hugely significant discovery – it’s a wine cellar that, to our knowledge, is largely unmatched in its age and size.”
The 40 jars that were found have a capacity of approximately 2,000 liters, according to a GW press release, meaning that the cellar could have contained almost 3,000 bottles of wine.
“The wine cellar was located near a hall where banquets took place, a place where the Kabri elite and possibly foreign guests consumed goat meat and wine,” said Yasur- Landau, chair of the Department of Maritime Civilizations at the University of Haifa. “The wine cellar and the banquet hall were destroyed during the same violent event, perhaps an earthquake, which covered them with thick debris of mud bricks and plaster.”
Koh analyzed the jar fragments to determine what they had once stored, and found traces of tartaric and syringic acids, both key components in wine, as well as compounds suggesting the presence of ingredients popular in ancient wine-making, including honey, mint, cinnamon bark, juniper berries and resins. The researchers plan to continue analyzing the residue and could gather enough information to recreate the flavor.
The team has more work in store and more evidence to examine, as they found two doors leading out of the wine cellar, likely to additional storage rooms. They intend to continue the dig in 2015.
Child, 4, struck by car, seriously hurt in Galilee
A four-year-old child was struck by a vehicle and seriously injured in the Galilee village of Reina last weekend.
The driver transported the child to a Nazareth hospital. He was scheduled to be moved, likely by helicopter, to Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center for further treatment.
The driver was detained for questioning.
Grenade thrown at Kafr Manda house, none hurt
A perpetrator threw a stun grenade at the house of a 44-year-old resident of the Arab village of Kafr Manda in the Karmiel area last weekend, the Local website reported. Misgav police arrested a suspect, a man in his 20s.
Police were investigating suspicions that the two had previously been involved in a conflict.
In a separate incident in the village, three men in their twenties were arrested on suspicion of possessing stun grenade. Police from the Misgav station arrested the three, while they allegedly tried to flee in a vehicle.
Police took the grenade during a search of the vehicle. There is no known connection between the two incidents.
Man, 42, shot dead in Kalansuwa
A 42-year-old Arab man was shot dead in the town of Kalansuwa near Kfar Saba on Sunday evening. The man was shot in the upper body.
Magen David Adom paramedics pronounced the man dead after attempting to save him.
The circumstances of the incident were under investigation.
Elderly man killed in hit and run
An 83-year-old man was killed in a hit and run accident in central Israel early Monday morning.
MDA paramedics pronounced the victim dead after lifesaving attempts failed.
Tel Aviv restaurateurs bring in first night of Hanukka with Holocaust survivors
Three Tel Aviv chefs arranged this week arranged special candlelighting events for some 300 Holocaust survivors, to mark the first night of Hanukka. The dinners, one of which was scheduled to be attended by Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, were at the initiative of the Association for Social Deeds, in cooperation with the Tel Aviv Municipality and the Cafe Europa club – a social club for Holocaust survivors.
Flowers were prepared to present to guests upon entering the restaurants, as part of an evening of candlelighting, music, dancing and a Hanukka-themed performance. Chefs at The Social Club, Shine & Sharp and Piazza prepared gourmet treats for the diners, including doughnuts, latkes and other pastries, as well as a sweet, light white-wine based punch, breads and salads.
Uri Raz, CEO of the Association for Social Deeds, said: “Hanukka is the festival of lights, so it is important for us to bring a bit of light to these heroic people – as thanks to them, we are here. It hurts me to see so many elderly Holocaust survivors who have been forgotten from public consciousness, which does not allow them to eat in and enjoy gourmet restaurants, and I think that this is a badge of shame for us, as a society. I call on the other municipalities and restaurateurs in Israel not to ignore these transparent people, and to initiate similar events.”
The Association for Social Deeds was founded in 2013 with the aim of creating unity and mutuality in Israeli society, by supporting its weak layers and creating education and employment opportunities for those who cannot do so for themselves. The NGO sets the goal to “change the attitude of society toward those invisible people, to reach out to them and lead them to the light.”
WIZO holds clothes sale to raise money for welfare projects WIZO held a vintage and secondhand clothing sale in Tel Aviv last week, to raise money for their welfare projects for children, women and at-risk youth. The sale was held on Mazeh Street and comprised 300 items, including clothes by designers such as Valentino, Salvatore Ferragamo, Juicy Couture, Lacoste, Max Mara and others.
There were also a variety of coats on offer donated by WIZO Belgium, brand new and sold at discounted prices, including those by European designers. WIZO Belgium took responsibility for all the costs associated with shipping these coats to Israel. Other items were a mix of high-end, secondhand and donated new clothes, including hand-sewn dresses.
Court decision forces Eilat promenade stallholders to clear stands
The vast majority of stallholders on Eilat’s promenade evacuated their stands at the beginning of this week, in light of an eviction order that came into effect at midnight Sunday.
The evacuations began last weekend following a long legal procedure undertaken by law enforcement agencies, led by State Attorney Moshe Lador, before various courts.
The procedures were aimed at stopping the illegal takeover of public lands, which the Justice Ministry described as a blatant violation that occurs daily in the Eilat’s public promenade area. The spokesman said commercial activity was being carried out by stall operators who did not hold business licenses, risking public safety and stealing a valuable public resource.
In a statement, the ministry also said the stalls blocked the seafront, with dozens of stores crowded onto the promenade, in a site that is unique to the country.
1 killed, 4 injured in car accident
One person was killed and four were injured in a car accident in the Beduin village of Hura on Sunday, in which a vehicle overturned.
Three of the victims were moderately injured and one was lightly hurt. Police were investigating the circumstances of the incident.