2,700-year-old farmhouse unearthed outside Tel Aviv

Byzantine monastery with colorful mosaic, ancient silver coins also found nearby at site next to Rosh Ha'ayin

Aerial photograph of the 2,700-year-old farmhouse found near Rosh Ha'ayin (Griffin Aerial Imaging)

A 2,700-year-old farmhouse was discovered during recent excavations near the town of Rosh Ha’ayin, just east of Tel Aviv, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday.

The ruins were unearthed during an excavation commissioned by the Rosh Ha’ayin municipality ahead of the construction of a new neighborhood. Dozens of schoolchildren from neighboring institutions took part in the dig, the IAA said.

The 24-room structure, some of whose walls were preserved over two meters high, was built around a central courtyard, where remnants of ancient grain storage and production were found. Two silver coins dating from the fourth century BCE bearing the image of the Greek goddess Athena and her iconic owl were also uncovered in the ruins.

“In addition, we found simple presses hewn from the stone which were used for producing olive oil,” Amit Shadman, the IAA archaeologist who headed the dig, said in a statement.

Reverse of a 4th century silver coin with the owl of Athena found in a 2,700-year-old farmhouse near Rosh Ha’ayin. (Israel Antiquities Authority)
Obverse of a 4th century silver coin with the head of the goddess Athena found in a 2,700-year-old farmhouse near Rosh Ha’ayin. (Israel Antiquities Authority)

Archaeologists also dug up the ruins of a Byzantine monastery, complete with a large mosaic floor bearing Greek inscriptions in its church, olive presses, residences and stables. The inscription says that the structure was built “under Theodosius the monk” and reads “Blessed be your arrival, blessed be your departure, Amen.”

Detail of a Greek mosaic unearthed a 1,500-year-old Byzantine monastery near Rosh Ha’ayin. (Assaf Peretz, Israel Antiquities Authority)

Shadman said the farmhouse was likely inhabited for centuries until the area was abandoned in the Hellenistic period, around 2,200 years ago. Centuries later, during the Byzantine period, it was repopulated and the monastery built.

The IAA said it plans to preserve the ruins in situ and open them to the public.

Aerial photograph of a 1,500-year-old Byzantine monastery found near Rosh Ha’ayin (Griffin Aerial Imaging)
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