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Archaeological Discoveries: Ancient Horse Skeletons Discovered in Jaffa

(September 2005)

In salvage excavations the Antiquities Authority is carrying out below the floor of the 17th century Armenian Monastery in Jaffa, the skeletons of seven horses are being exposed. This seems to constitute evidence of a battle that took place there in antiquity. In addition, a system of fortifications and retaining walls that denotes the northwestern boundary of Jaffa from the Hellenistic period until the Ottoman period was also revealed.

A team of veterinarians and DNA specialists from the Faculty of Agriculture and Medicine of the Hebrew University was called to the site by the Antiquities Authority and is now working at cleaning and identifying the bones.

Amit Re’em and Martin Peilstöker, the directors of the excavation on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, reported that, according to historical evidence, the monastery was used at one point as a khan for pilgrims and Napoleon housed his plague infected troops there. “When the sick soldiers became too much of a burden Napoleon had them taken out and executed along the shoreline,” they added.

Sources: Israel Antiquities Authority