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12 August 2010
3,500-year-old bronze bracelet found in Israel

A bronze bracelet was discovered in archaeological excavations in Ramat Razim, near Safed in northern Israel. The first known village from Late Bronze period in all of northern part of the country was uncovered in an excavation in the vicinity of Zefat, with funding provided by the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Housing.
    According to Karen Covello-Paran, director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "We discovered a wide rare bracelet made of bronze. The ancient bracelet, which is extraordinarily well preserved, is decorated with engravings and the top of it is adorned with a horned structure. At that time horns were the symbol of the storm-god and they represented power, fertility and law. The person who could afford such a bracelet was apparently very well off financially, and it probably belonged to the village ruler. It is interesting to note that in the artwork of neighboring lands gods and rulers were depicted wearing horned crowns; however, such a bracelet, and from an archaeological excavation at that, has never been found here".
    The bracelet was found inside the remains of an estate house, part of an ancient settlement that existed in a rocky area overlooking the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. Made of indigenous limestone, the building included a paved central courtyard surrounded by residential rooms and storerooms.
     "This is the first time that a 3,500-year-old village has been excavated and exposed in the north of Israel," Covello-Paran said. "Here we have gained a first glimpse of life in the ancient rural hinterland in the north, and it turns out that it was more complex than we thought," she added.
     The ancient inhabitants of Ramat Razim raised sheep and goats, and farmed. Numerous basalt querns that were used for grinding wheat into flour were found in the building. In addition, we also found large storage vessels that were used to store grain and liquids, which stood on the floor to a height of more than a meter. An ancient oven for cooking was found in one of the residential rooms alongside ceramic cookware and tools.

Sources: Israel National News (3 August 2010), Artdaily.org (4 August 2010)

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