The Lavi family from Tzur Yitzhak, Kokhav Ya’ir in central Israel, were walking in the southern hills of Modi’in last Saturday, when they suddenly noticed a small face, made of clay, staring at them from the ground.
Doron, the father, contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Issy Kornfeld, an archaeologist working for the IAA, came to collect the photogenic find.
Dr. Itamar Taksel, head of the IAA’s ceramics dept., examined the object and concluded it was a decorative end of a candle handle from the Byzantine period – 6th to 7th century CE.
According to Dr. Kornfeld, “Although this is not a rare find, the item is certainly handsome. The clay candles were used for lighting, and are a typical find from that era – but not every candle had a handle, certainly not a specially designed one. The candle to which the handle belonged was used for spreading light, and also as an ornamental object.”
IAA manager Eli Eskozido said: “We are grateful to the Lavi family, who demonstrated good citizenship and handed the beautiful artifact to the state treasures.” Eskozido explained that “winter storm Barbara that hit the soil with great power brought to the surface ancient finds. We call on the public to be vigilant, and if they come across an ancient find, please leave it in place and alert the Israel Antiquities Authority to come to the area.”
“The exact context in which the object is found provides valuable information for researchers,” he stressed.