A well-preserved 2100-year-old Hellenistic Hasmonean period agricultural farmstead containing finds that may have been abandoned in haste was uncovered at Horbat Assad next to Nahal Abel in Eastern Galilee.
The excavation was carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority ahead of the Mekorot water company’s NIS 910 million ($270 million) Northern Carrier project to transfer desalinated water to the Kinneret.
Researchers uncovered tens of loom weights used for weaving garments, large ceramic storage vessels, and iron agricultural implements, including various picks and scythes. The coins that were retrieved date the farmstead to the second half of the second century BCE.
Dr. Amani Abu-Hamid, director of the excavation on behalf of the IAA, said, “We were very lucky to discover a time-capsule in which the finds remained where they were left by the occupants of the site, and it seems that they left in haste in face of impending danger, possibly the threat of a military attack. The weaving loom weights were still on the shelf, the storage jars are intact. We know from the historical sources that in this period, the Judean Hasmonean Kingdom expanded into Galilee, and the farmstead was likely abandoned in the wake of these events. More research is required to determine the identity of the inhabitants of the site.”
In addition, the foundations of buildings as well as pottery vessels and other finds dating to the Iron Age, the 10-9th centuries BCE, were uncovered.
IAA Director-General Eli Eskosido said, “This interesting and significant find came to light in the course of the excavation carried out before the implementation of the Mekorot water project. The Israel Antiquities Authority and Mekorot are cooperating to preserve the farmstead, at the site itself or in the immediate vicinity.”