Hundreds of British WWI-era liquor bottles found in Israel

Israeli archaeologists recently exposed discarded objects left behind by British soldiers after WWI, including hundreds of liquor bottles. 

Israeli archaeologists recently chanced upon hundreds of World War I era liquor bottles left behind by British soldiers stationed in Israel at the time.

The surprising find occurred a few weeks ago in excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) prior to the construction of Highway 200, near the central city of Ramla.

Archaeologists were astounded to find a fascinating reminder from the First World War that included century-old liquor bottles situated near a building where British soldiers were garrisoned during the war.

A Rare Glimpse into Day-to-Day Life

“The written historical evidence regarding the soldiers’ activities in the British army in Israel usually consists of “dry” details, such as the number of soldiers, direction of attack, and the results of the battle,” said Ron Toueg, excavation director on behalf of the IAA.

However, this discovery provides a glimpse of “the unwritten part of history, and reconstructs for the first time the everyday life and leisure of the soldiers,” he said.

The apparent foundations of their barracks were also uncovered. The structure, used for agricultural purposes in the Ottoman period, was converted during World War I by the British.

Dozens of uniform buttons, belt buckles, parts of riding equipment and other artifacts that were the property of the British soldiers were also found.

The building caught fire and collapsed for a reason which at this point is unclear to the researchers. The location where the soldiers discarded debris was exposed just a few meters from the building.

Stress Relief

“We were surprised to discover that along with broken crockery and cutlery, there was an enormous number of soft drink and liquor bottles. In fact, about 70 percent of the waste that was discarded in the refuse pit were liquor bottles. It seems that the soldiers took advantage of the respite given them to release the tension by frequently drinking alcohol,” Toueg assessed.

Among the interesting items found was the tip of a swagger stick that belonged to a Royal Flying Corps officer. Swagger sticks such as these were usually carried by senior officers as a symbol of authority. The tip, made of silver, is stamped with the symbol of the corps and the initials RFC.

The Egyptian Expeditionary Force under the command of General Edmund Allenby conquered the area around the towns of Lod and Ramla in 1917. The army encamped in the area, with the headquarters at Bir Salam – Ramla Camp and Sarafand Camp.

The British army was based there for about nine months until moving further north.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News