Ancient Jewish Town Discovered Beneath Arab Village in Galilee

An ancient Jewish town from the time of King Solomon has been uncovered beneath the Arab village of Kafr Kana, north of Nazareth, in the Galilee.

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Ezra HaLevi, | updated: 14:35

The discovery, unearthed by Israel’s Antiquities Authority, also includes remnants of Jewish settlement during the Roman period. Among the findings are underground tunnels excavated by Jews who defended the city against Roman legions during the Great Revolt of the year 66 CE.

During the course of the excavations, a section of the city wall and remains of buildings were exposed. Archaeologists date the remains to the period of the United Kingdom of King Solomon and the Kingdom of Israel (following the split between Israel and Judah, from the 10-9th centuries BCE). The director of the excavation on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, Yardena Alexandre, reported that evidence was found there indicating the place was ransacked during the 9th century BCE.

In addition, pottery vessels, large quantities of animal bones, a scarab depicting a man surrounded by two crocodiles, and a ceramic seal bearing the image of a lion were discovered at the site.

Following the destruction, the excavation area was abandoned until its ruins were re-inhabited by Jewish settlers during the Early Roman period (1st century CE). The identity of these residents as Galilean Jews is already known from previous excavations that were carried out at the site and from historic information that identifies the settlement as “Kana of the Galilee” – referred to in the Christian bible.

Some of the walls that were destroyed were reused in the new construction and new floors were laid down. The Jewish settlers built igloo-shaped pits on the ruins of the previous settlement, whereby the bedrock served as the floor of the pit and the walls were built. A rock-hewn pit was discovered in one of the tunnels and in it were 11 complete storage jars characteristic of the second half of the 1st century CE. Alexandre noted that “the pits are connected to each other by short tunnels and it seems that they were used as hiding refuges – a kind of concealed subterranean home – that were built prior to the Great Revolt against the Romans in the year 66 CE."

(Photos: Israel Antiquity Authority)