Treasures found the heart of Jerusalem from the Hasmonean era


A perfume container and a lead weight from the ancient days of the Hasmonean dynasty, were found in Jerusalem’s Kiryat Yovel neighborhood

Chief archaeologist: Little is known about Jerusalem during that era.

Efrat Forsher


As Jews throughout the world celebrate the Hanukkah holiday, which commemorates the victory of the ancient Hasmoneans over the militarily superior Hellenists, the Israel Antiquities Authority recently disclosed that an important archaeological find was discovered in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood of Jerusalem, including items dating back to the Hasmonean era — 140 B.C.E. to 116 B.C.E.

The archeological dig in south Jerusalem. – Photo: Daniel Ein Mor & Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority

The IAA, which conducted the excavation, uncovered what appeared to be an agricultural farm that was occupied during the days when Jerusalem was under Hellenist rule. The site consists of several structures and facilities, as well as artifacts such as an ancient perfume container and a lead weight that were found in one of the structures.

The excavation was performed on Arthur Hantke Street in Kiryat Yovel ahead of infrastructure construction for an additional route of the city’s light rail.

According to Daniel Ein Mor, chief archaeologist at the site, “Up to now we have discovered very few sites that date back to the early period of the Hellenistic era in this area, which served as the agricultural periphery of Jerusalem. Very little is known about the materials used and the history of the residents of Jerusalem and its environs during the third and fourth centuries before the Common Era and before the Hasmonean revolt took place. The site that was discovered recently will help us understand how residents lived in this area at that time.”

A statement by the Antiquities Authority on Monday said the volume and nature of the discovery are not yet clear and as work at the site continues, additional artifacts and structures may be discovered, which will help determine whether the site was indeed part of an agricultural village or part of an even larger residential settlement.

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