Morning jogger discovers 900 year-old lamp

Ancient lamp washed up on shore in Ashkelon. 'It’s really exciting. You just feel a part of history. You can touch what was here long ago.'

Rachel Kaplan ,

נר בן 900 שנה
נר בן 900 שנה
צילום: יולי שוורץ, רשות העתיקות

Tuesday morning started normally for Meir Amshik, a ranger (rescue personnel) for the Nature and Parks Authority.

As he jogged along the coast, however, “I saw a few pottery shards had been washed up by the waves, and I stopped to pick them up. To my surprise, I saw that a new part of the cliff had crumbled. I went to check it out, and I saw a strange lamp resting there, whole.”

Guy Pitosi, inspector for the Israel Antiquities Authority, rushed to the scene. “NPA rangers, and rangers in general, are our eyes on the coast. They don’t just save people, they save artifacts...Finds like this can be incredibly important for research, and for our understanding of history. Happily, more and more people are reporting ancient finds.”

According to Saar Ganor, archeologist for the Ashkelon Center for the Israel Antiquities Authority, “This ancient oil lamp, which was used a light source, dates back to the 12th century. The signs of wear, and soot on its mouth, are well worth studying...The lamp demonstrates a part of the cultural wealth of the ancient city Ashkelon, which once was a merchant city. Ashkelon was a center of import from overseas, and from there products from the whole southern Israel were exported.”

Meir Amshik relates: “To find an artifact like this, it’s really exciting. You just feel a part of history. You can touch what was here long ago. I feel like I’m a part of the chain.”