‘Frozen in time’: 2,100-year-old agricultural farmstead uncovered in Galilee

The site was likely abandoned suddenly due to impending danger.


A well-preserved 2,100-year-old, Hasmonean period agricultural farmstead, containing finds that may have been abandoned in haste, was uncovered at Horbat Assad next to Nahal Arbel in eastern Galilee.

As in many cases in Israel, the findings were chanced upon during construction work.

In this instance, excavations carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) before the Mekorot Company project to transfer desalinated water to the Sea of Galilee, uncovered tens of loom weights used for weaving garments, large ceramic storage vessels, and iron agricultural implements, including various picks and scythes.

The coins retrieved date the farmstead to the second half of the second century BCE, some 2,100 years ago.

Dr. Amani Abu-Hamid, Director of the excavation on behalf of the IAA, said that they were “very lucky to discover a time-capsule, frozen in time, in which the finds remained where they were left by the occupants of the site, and it seems that they left in haste in face of an impending danger, possibly the threat of a military attack.”

He recounted how “the weaving loom weights were still on the shelf, the storage jars were intact. We know from the historical sources, that in this period, the Judean Hasmonean Kingdom expanded into the Galilee, and it is possible that the farmstead was abandoned in the wake of these events. More research is required to determine the identity of the inhabitants of the site.”

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In addition, the foundations of buildings, pottery vessels, and other finds dating to the Iron Age, the 10-9th centuries BCE, were uncovered.