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Archaeological Discoveries: Ancient Jewish Site from United Kingdom Period Discovered at Kana

(March 2006)

Salvage excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority in Kfar Kana (north of Nazareth), have uncovered remains of a settlement that existed at the time of the United Kingdom of King Solomon and the Kingdom of Israel (following the split between Israel and Judah, from the 10-9th centuries BCE). During the course of the excavations, a section of the city wall and remains of buildings were exposed. The director of the excavation on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, Yardenna Alexandre, reported that evidence was found there indicating the site was vanquished during the 9th century BCE, probably by an enemy. Other artifacts discovered at the site include pottery vessels, large quantities of animal bones, a scarab depicting a man surrounded by two crocodiles and a ceramic seal bearing the image of a lion.

Following the destruction, the site was abandoned until its ruins were re-inhabited by settlers in the Early Roman period (1st century CE). The identity of these residents as Galilean Jews is already known from previous excavations that were carried out at the site and from historic information that identifies the settlement as “Kana of the Galilee” - known from the New Testament. Some of the walls that were destroyed were reused in the new construction and new floors were laid down.

The Jewish settlers built igloo-shaped pits on the ruins of the previous settlement, in which the bedrock served as the floor of the pit. A rock-hewn pit was discovered in one of the tunnels containing 11 complete storage jars characteristic of the second half of the 1st century CE.

Alexandre noted that “the pits are connected to each other by short tunnels and it seems that they were used as hiding refuges - a kind of concealed subterranean home - that were built prior to the Great Revolt against the Romans in the year 66 CE.”

Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry