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A Surprise – Ancient Jewelry Found in Israel
Posted In: Other Exciting News  5/22/12
By: Yona Williams

You never know what surprises the ancient world will throw at you when you're an archeologist or researcher studying the past. Who would have thought that cleaning a ceramic vessel excavated from a Canaanite residential area in Israel would produce a treasure trove of jewelry? Wrapped in textiles, researchers happened upon a collection of ring, earrings, and beads made from carnelian. In this article, you will learn more about the recent discovery.

Dating back to the 11th century BC, the jewelry is Egyptian in style. One of the highlighted finds is an earring decorated with molded ibexes, which was quite unique for its time. Out of all the pieces, the researchers were unable to find anything that gave an exact date to the cultural or chronological connections of the jewelry.

The vessel that housed the gems was found in 2010, but was not cleaned until a molecular analysis of its content was conducted. It was only recently that they started to wash out the dirt when pieces of jewelry, including a ring, earrings, and beads, started to pour out. Researchers assess that the collection may belong to a time period referred to as "Iron I." They believe that at least a couple of the pieces initially got their start in Egypt, which is nearby to the remains of the private home located in the northern part of Megiddo (where the vessel was uncovered).

Other clues that point to an Egyptian influence are the materials (like the beads) and designs on the jewelry. Carnelian stone was a popular material used in Egypt.

When the ceramic jug was removed from its excavation site, researchers had no clue that it would contain jewelry inside. Over the years, the jewelry remained well preserved as it was wrapped in textiles. However, other details about the find are quite mysterious. One theory is that the jug was not the typical storage place for the jewelry. There are many reasons why people would hide their collection of jewelry and when unfortunate circumstances arise – they are unable to retrieve their belongings. The owners could have died or have been forced to leave their home in a panic. Some believe that the jewelry was the property of a Canaanite woman who lived in the house.

The assortment of jewelry found at the house is also interesting to ponder. A strong Egyptian connection (whether it is cultural influences or regarding origin), but the abundance of gold pieces and carnelian beads suggest the association with Egyptian jewelry made during the same time period. There were also common Canaanite pieces, such as a handful of lunette (moon-shaped) earrings. There has been evidence to show that Egypt and Megiddo interacted with one another during both the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.

Out of all the pieces, there is one that constantly catches the attention of researchers – a gold earring with a pattern of molded wild goats.


 

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