A two-thousand-year-old discovery: Remains of a building from the days of the Sanhedrin were uncovered in Yavne

The excavation by the Israel Antiquities Authority in Yavneh revealed evidence of the life, and also death, of the residents of Yavneh during the Sanhedrin – the late 1st and 2nd centuries AD. The excavation revealed, for the first time, the remains of a building dating to the days of the Sanhedrin, in which limestone cups were discovered, indicating a Jewish presence and the observance of the laws of impurity and purity at the site.

An excavation, which is being conducted before the expansion of the city, at the initiative of the Israel Land Authority and in collaboration with the Yavne Municipality, also revealed a large-scale cemetery from these days. Near the area, a huge wine production plant from the Byzantine period was recently unveiled. This week – Hanukkah, excavation tours are held with prior registration, as part of Israel Heritage Week.

“The discovery of the finds from the days of the Sanhedrin is very exciting,” say Pablo Betzer and Dr. Daniel Verga, the directors of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Jewish people”.

Yavne Excavation (Photo: Assaf Peretz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)
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The excavation revealed for the first time a building of an industrial nature, dating to the 1st-3rd-3rd centuries AD. A number of fragments of stone vessels, of the type known as “measuring cups” – vessels that do not receive impurity, identified with the Jewish population of the late Second and Second Temple centuries, were discovered on its floor.

Just 70 meters from the building, an impressive cemetery was unveiled. “We found dozens of unusually arranged graves, in fixed rows and distances, which may indicate the existence of a ‘burial society’ – some factor that was responsible for the burial,” say Betzer and Dr. Varga.

“Tombs have different shapes: some are made as coffins (sarcophagi), most are made of stone, and one – lead.” The directors of the excavation add that “according to the location of the cemetery, it can be assumed that it was erected outside the city limits, in accordance with Jewish law and Roman law. But were Jews or pagans buried here? It is too early to determine, .

The bottles were uncovered in the field (Photo: Emil Aljem, Israel Antiquities Authority)The bottles were uncovered in the field (Photo: Emil Aljem, Israel Antiquities Authority)

Meanwhile, another surprising find was discovered in the excavation: more than 150 glass vials were discovered lying over the graves. According to Dr. Yael Gorin-Rosen, head of the glass industry at the Israel Antiquities Authority: “The vials were probably used to store valuable liquids, such as fragrant oils. About half of them were produced locally and a second half – imported from Alexandria in Egypt. Such vials are discovered in both excavations in Jewish tombs and in pagan tombs, from the 1st century to the beginning of the 3rd century AD. “Laying the bottles outside the graves in Yavneh and not inside them, as was customary, is a mystery.”

According to Eli Escozido, Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority: “The Yavneh excavation is a mega-excavation of the Israel Antiquities Authority that covers tens of dunams, with the participation of hundreds of workers and dozens of permanent staff and experts. “And our archaeologists. Our archaeologists are doing sacred work by exposing unknown chapters in the history of the country, while working hard and cold. I welcome the cooperation with the Israel Land Authority and the Yavne Municipality, which will allow some of the impressive excavation findings to be presented to the general public.”

The ancient cemetery in Yavne (Photo: Yaniv Berman, Israel Antiquities Authority)The ancient cemetery in Yavne (Photo: Yaniv Berman, Israel Antiquities Authority)

Yaakov Quint, director of the Israel Land Authority, said that “the treasures inherent in the land are exposed thanks to the Israel Land Authority’s extensive investment in financing the archeological excavations in Yavneh.” 1049). The plan will include 12,500 housing units and 450,000 square meters of trade and employment. The plan includes the doubling of the railway track and construction over a train station. “As part of the preliminary work to develop the plan, the Israel Land Authority is investing about NIS 200 million in the work of the Israel Antiquities Authority, which will enable the archaeological finds to be exposed, investigated and preserved for future generations.”

Zvi Gov-Ari, mayor of Yavne, said: “The importance of Yavne’s position in the history of the Jewish people is further substantiated today. “Today’s construction will continue to develop, with the guiding principle being that the present must have strong roots, while the future will be built as a pool of experience of the past, present and development in future generations.”


Source: Maariv.co.il – חדשות מהארץ והעולם by www.maariv.co.il.

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