Archaeologists in Israel have made an amazing discovery: An impressive farm house, 2, 800 years old, which comprised twenty-three rooms. It was exposed during archaeological excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is carrying out in Rosh Ha-‘Ayin before the city is expanded as part of an initiative by Israel’s Ministry of Construction.
According to Amit Shadman, the excavation director from the Israel Antiquities Authority, “The farm, which is extraordinarily well-preserved, extends across an area of 30 × 40 m (100×133 feet) and was built in the eighth century BCE, the time of the Assyrian conquest. Farm houses during this period served as small settlements of sorts whose inhabitants participated in processing agricultural produce. The numerous wine presses discovered in the vicinity of the settlement indicate the wine industry was the most important branch of agriculture in the region. A large silo, which was used to store grain, shows that the ancient residents were also engaged in growing cereal.”
Shadman also said that the building continued to be used during the Persian period (also known as the Time of the Return to Zion) in the sixth century BCE, and in the Hellenistic period, which began in Israel with the arrival of Alexander the Great. With Alexander’s victory over the Persian army in 333 BCE he also took control of Israel.
Evidence of a Greek presence in the region was uncovered on one of the floors of the building in the form of a rare silver coin bearing the military leader’s name – ΑΛΕΞΑNΔΡΟΥ on t the front along with the image of the Greek god Zeus, while the head of Heracles appears on its back.
During the Ottoman period a lime kiln was dug into the structure which utilized the stones in the building as a ready source of raw material.
In light of this impressive building’s excellent state of preservation, the Israel Antiquities Authority and Ministry of Construction decided to conserve the structure in situ for the benefit of the city’s residents and the visiting public.