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Excavations in Galilee reveal 2,000 year-old stone factory

An ancient Jewish “Stone Age”? Ariel University unearths a 2,000 year-old stone vessel production center in the Galilee.


Archaeological excavations conducted in Galilee in early August, under the direction of Dr. Yonatan Adler of Ariel University, have unearthed a 2,000 year-old cave which functioned as a quarry and industrial workshop for the production of stone vessels. The large subterranean cavern, hewn into a chalkstone hillside, was discovered at a site named Einot Amitai near Nazareth in northern Israel. The cave yielded numerous remains of stone vessels in various stages of production, attesting to a thriving industry.

In ancient times, most tableware, cooking pots and storage jars were made of pottery. In the first century of the Common Era, however, Jews throughout Judea and Galilee used tableware and storage vessels made of soft, local chalkstone. The reason for this curious choice of material seems to have been religious; according to ancient Jewish law, vessels made of stone can never become ritually impure, while pottery can and there is no way to make it kosher again – and as a result ancient Jews began to produce their everyday


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