Rotem holding one of the bullets
Rotem holding one of the bulletsThe Benzion Netanyahu School

Years after the last battles between England and Turkey during the First World War, fourth-grade students found five Turkish bullets over a century old.

The findings were exposed during archaeological excavations carried out in cooperation with Ariel University and the Benzion Netanyahu School in the Samarian city of Barkan, as part of an initiative of the Samaria Regional Council Education Department and the Dagesh Archaeological Tourism company.

Two of the students, Lihi Drori and Rotem Tana, found the bullets in a single excavation. Later, an additional three bullets of the same type were found.

After arriving home, Rotem told his parents of his discovery, and found out that his great-grandfather served as a soldier in the Turkish army.

"It was very exciting, as if I found a piece of my family's history right here near our home in Samaria," Rotem said. "My dream is to be an archaeologist and discover additional pieces of the State of Israel's history."

Samaria Regional Council Head Yossi Dagan said, "Samaria is rich with history, and this is one more proof of how much more we can excavate and learn about the history of our home."

"This is an amazing joint effort which allows students exposure to a captivating field of knowledge and allows them to look out over the horizon of history towards their home, and to appreciate and connect even more every bit of soil.

"In an era of iPhones and screens, which fill so much of a child's day, this is an important and blessed initiative which allows children the opportunity to leave their closed classroom and go outdoors."

Archaeologist Ahiya Cohen-Tabor, who is leading the excavations, said, "The bullets' state shows that they were already shot from the rifle. We estimate that these bullets are over a century old, and they match earlier shooting technology. This is an unusual amount of bullets for this area, and it's fascinating to try to understand what exactly they were used for and in which situation."

Journalist Hagai Huberman spoke about the battles waged in the area.

"The battles between the British and Turks in this area occurred exactly one hundred years ago, and continued for an entire year. In February 1918, Turkish and British forces stood along the battle lines, between two rivers: the Yarkon River in the west, and the Al-Auja River near Yeriho in the east," he said.

"This line passed close to the Arab villages of Haris and Salfit, not far from the Barkan area, where the bullets were found. Only a year later, in September 2018, the British Tenth Division moved northwards towards the Iskaka, Salfit, and Haris villages, close to today's Ariel, and northwards towards Shechem (Nablus) and Jenin. These were among the last battles fought in World War I."

Rotem's grandfather (left), as a soldier in the Turkish army. Credit: Courtesy of the family

Credit: Benzion Netanyahu School

Yossi Dagan with the students at the excavations Credit: Roy Hadad