A group of children recently found a 2,000-year-old oil lamp at Kibbutz Parod in the northern Galilee region of the country, shedding light on the ancient Jewish community that lived in the area, the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement Monday.
The 4th-grade students — Alon Cohen, Liam Atias and Rotem Levnat — from the kibbutz’s Nof Hagalil School, made the discovery as they were out for a walk about 10 days ago.
The trio said they noticed something poking out of the ground, and at first they thought it was just an unusual stone.
However, after carefully pulling it out they realized it was a complete oil lamp made of clay.
The students took the lamp to their parents, who informed the Israel Antiquities Authority, which was able to confirm the age of the object, the statement said.
It surfaced close to a site where the IAA is conducting a dig ahead of the planned construction of a new neighborhood in the kibbutz.
IAA archaeologist Haim Mamliya noted the importance of the fact that the lamp was found outside the area of the dig.
“Discovery of the lamp may give us a clue as to how far the borders of the ancient site reached,” he said. “If it weren’t for the children, we wouldn’t know this. There is no doubt that the find sheds new and interesting light on the excavation.”
The IAA presented the children and their parents with good citizen awards for turning in the ancient item.
The director of education at the IAA, Einat Ambar-Armon, said the area of Parod in ancient times was a large Jewish village.
“The lamp that was revealed is a typical lamp for the Jewish settlement in the early Roman period,” Ambar-Armon said. “For the most part, the lamps of this type are without decoration, in contrast to the Roman lamps of the same period. This is a special discovery. It is quite rare to find just a whole lamp like this.”
Each year, students from the Nof Hagalil school participate in a preservation project for the Nahal Parod stream and surrounding area.
School principal Daniella Hazan said it was the knowledge the students gained from their experiences in the project that enabled them to notice that the lamp was something unusual.
She speculated that vibration from some of the nearby construction work may have caused the lamp to become exposed.
Israel Antiquities Authority director Eli Eskosido suggested seasonal rains helped uncover the lamp and noted the find came just days before the Hanukkah festival, which began on Sunday night.
“Every year, thanks to the timing of rains that hit us before and close to the Hanukkah holiday, we receive ‘Hanukkah miracles’ and amazing surprises, glimpses coming from the ground,” he said referring to the theme of Hanukkah which tells of a small amount of oil for lamps in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem that miraculously lasted for eight days instead of the expected single day.
Eskosido said the lamp has been stored away in the state archives and will be available to researchers from around the world.