Israeli 13-year-old Stumbles on 1500-Year-Old Relic

Meir is among the many young students in the country who study archaeology thanks to the support given by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

By World Israel News Staff

A fragment of a marble tombstone dating back to the Byzantine period was discovered near the coastal town of Caesarea by a 13-year-old boy.

Stav Meir, 13, a resident of Caesarea, discovered the tombstone fragment last week when he went out to the nearby fields to pick mushrooms with his family.

“I immediately recognized that it was something ancient,” Meir said. “I can easily identify antiquities when I see them.”

Meir is among the many young students in the country who study archaeology thanks to the support given by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

After being contacted by the young man, the IAA commissioned archaeologist Dr. Peter Gendelman to retrieve and analyze the find.

According to Gendelman, the fragment is part of marble tombstone dating back 1,500 years to the Byzantine period.

The Greek inscription on the piece either reads “Anastasius’s tomb” or “Anastasia’s tomb” as the last letters of the name were not well preserved.

“Already, in ancient times, Caesarea was a center of attraction for a wealthy population. The quality of the slab discovered by Stav indicates the wealthy status of the person entombed, as well as the customs and beliefs of inhabitants of Caesarea in the Byzantine period,” said Gendelman.

“This inscription joins a large collection of burial inscriptions previously discovered around ancient Caesarea,” he added.

In response to the find, IAA Haifa District archaeologist Karem Said praised Meir for his “good citizenship” and for applying the knowledge he learned in the classroom to help identify the ancient artifact.

“The finding of this inscription enriches archaeological knowledge and our understanding of ancient Caesarea. We awarded Stav a Certificate of Appreciation for his good citizenship, and we will come to his class for a special lesson addressing the discovery he made,” he said.