Massive 2,800-year-old farmhouse found in central Israel
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Massive 2,800-year-old farmhouse found in central Israel

Structure in modern Rosh Ha’ayin was used during Assyrian, Persian and Hellenistic periods

Lazar Berman is a former breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

An aerial photograph of the farm house near Rosh Ha'ayin, 2014. (photo credit: Skyview Company, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)
An aerial photograph of the farm house near Rosh Ha'ayin, 2014. (photo credit: Skyview Company, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

Israeli archaeologists uncovered an ancient farmhouse in the area of modern day Rosh Ha’ayin, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Monday.

The structure is believed to be 2,800 years old, and consists of 23 rooms.

“The farm, which is extraordinarily well-preserved, extends across an area of 30 meters by 40 meters and was built in the eighth century BCE, the time of the Assyrian conquest,” IAA excavation director Amit Shadman said. “Farm houses during this period served as small settlements of sorts whose inhabitants participated in processing agricultural produce. The numerous wine presses discovered in the vicinity of the settlement indicate the wine industry was the most important branch of agriculture in the region. A large silo, which was used to store grain, shows that the ancient residents were also engaged in growing cereal.”

The structure was also in use during the Persian and Hellenistic periods, Shadman said. A coin found at the site bears the name of Alexander the Great — ΑΛΕΞΑNΔΡΟΥ — the Macedonian military commander who conquered the Land of Israel in the 4th century BCE, ushering in the Hellenistic period in the area. The coin, which also bears images of the god Zeus and the mythological hero Hercules, indicates a Greek presence in the region.

The dig is being carried out in advance of a planned expansion of Rosh Ha’ayin.

An image of Zeus and the inscription bearing the name of Alexander. (photo credit: Robert Kool, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)
An image of Zeus and the inscription bearing the name of Alexander. (photo credit: Robert Kool, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

Stones from the building were used as raw material during the Ottoman period, when a lime kiln was built into the structure.

IAA and the Housing Ministry will leave the building in situ, and open the site up to visitors.

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