Monday, September 24, 2012

Neolithic Jewelry Discovered near Sepphoris

Excavations along a highway in northern Israel revealed a 50-acre site dating to the Neolithic period. One of the most impressive discoveries was a small stone bowl with several hundred stone beads.

Among the special finds that were uncovered in the excavation is a group of small stone bowls that were made with amazing delicacy. One of them was discovered containing more than 200 black, white and red stone beads. Other important artifacts are clay figurines of animals (sheep, pig and cattle) that illustrate the importance of animal breeding in those cultures. The most importance finds are stone seals or amulets bearing geometric motifs and stone plaques and bone objects decorated with incising. Among the stone plaques is one that bears a simple but very elegant carving depicting two running ostriches. These objects represent the world of religious beliefs and serve as a link that connects Ein Zippori with the cultures of these periods in Syria and Mesopotamia. According to Milevski and Getzov, “The arrival of these objects at the ʽEin Zippori site shows that a social stratum had already developed at that time that included a group of social elite which used luxury items that were imported from far away countries”.

The full press release is here, and three high-resolution images are also available. The discovery is reported by the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz.


Photo by Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority

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