Israeli archaeologists digging under a road in Jerusalem have uncovered the remains of an agricultural community that could yield new information on the lives of residents before and after the rise of the Hasmonean dynasty around 2,200 years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Monday.
The excavation in the city’s modern-day Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood has yielded a perfume bottle, wine press, bread oven and the remains of houses and agricultural buildings, according to an IAA statement.
Archaeologists also found a hand-made lead weight with a letter carved on it — seemingly the letter “yod,” the tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and the equivalent of the English letter “y.”
The community seems to have been active both before and after the Maccabees took Jerusalem and re-dedicated the Temple in 164 BCE, marking the beginning of Hasmonean rule, according to the IAA.
That victory is commemorated this week by the festival of Hanukkah.
“Very little is known about the material culture and history of the residents of Jerusalem and the rural area around it in the fourth and third centuries before the common era, and the newly revealed site will help us construct a theoretical model of a settlement in this area,” Daniel Ein-Mor, the dig director, said in a statement released by the IAA on Monday.
The excavation, a salvage dig, is being carried out ahead of an expansion of the Jerusalem light rail system.
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