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Zach with his owner, Shaul Yona Photo: Amit Shabi
Zach with his owner, Shaul Yona Photo: Amit Shabi

Dog uncovers major archeological site

Zach, a mongrel, falls into pit while running in Jerusalem's Ramot Forest, exposing grape pressing area from First Temple period. Mayor decides to open biblical garden on site

Danny Adeno Abebe
Published: 11.14.12, 14:17 / Israel Travel

He never studied archeology and knows more about bones than about antiquities, but he is probably the first dog in history to uncover a major archeological site.


It all began five years ago when Zach, a mongrel, took a walk at Jerusalem's Ramot Forest with his owner, Shaul Yona. As he was joyfully running around the forest, Zach suddenly fell into a hole in the ground.


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Yona managed to get his dog out safe and sounds. As he took a deep breath following the drama, he peeked into the hole and realized that it was not just a random pit.


He alerted archeologists, who checked the hole and discovered that it had been used as a grape pressing area during the First Temple period.


The sensational discovery led to an extensive excavation, which exposed additional pits, pottery pieces and bronze coins from the Second Temple period. The dig was orchestrated by Prof. Amihai Mazar, who was awarded the Israel Prize in archaeology in 2009.


The neighborhood residents and students helped out, and Mayor Nir Barkat decided to build a biblical garden on the site in a bid to attract tourists, students and others.


"Jerusalem is our heritage," said Barkat, "and the students are digging in the area with the hope of creating a new generation that knows where it came from and where it is headed."



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