Cave site
Photo: Yaron Brenner
2,100 year old cave found under high school
Students at Rogozin High School in Tel Aviv don’t need to go far to get an archeology lesson: Just a few feet under their classrooms, municipal workers discovered ancient burial cave
History lesson at Rogozin High: While carrying out ordinary infrastructure work on Mesilat Haolim Street in Tel Aviv, unsuspecting public works authority employees stumbled onto a surprising archeological find. While digging in front of the city’s Rogozin High School, a massive underground cavern opened up beneath them, that was apparently used as a burial space during the first century BCE.


Yossi Cohen, chief archeologist of the central district, described the subterranean space as 20 meters long by 4 meters wide and subdivided into a central vestibule flanked by three smaller rooms, all carved into the sandstone. According to Cohen, archeologists in the 1950s – before Rogozin High was built – were already aware that a burial cave may be located in the area. In 1964 the whole area was declared an official antiquities site.

Entrance to cave (Photo: Yaron Brenner)


Now, however, the public works authority and the Tel Aviv municipality are hastening to seal the cave, as the infrastructure work damaged
it and the stone it was carved into has cracked. Tel Aviv district safety staff declared that the street is in severe danger of collapse if immediate emergency work isn’t carried out to stabilize the foundations.


Laborers were working to remove the cave’s ceiling and the thick layer of dust inside, and to excavate it completely and fill it in anew. Only then can the new road be constructed above it. “If we only fill in the exposed part without digging the cave out in its entirety, the street will collapse from the weight of cars and trucks,” Cohen said.


Surprising find for city workers (Photo: Yaron Brenner)


According to Peter Gendelman, the senior archeologist at the site, it appears the area of the cave extends underneath the high school.


The principal of the school, Karen Tal, said: “I very much hope they find something interesting here and the school area becomes an attraction. But if it is a space underneath the school which has to be filled in, I believe the authorized officials will tell us what to do. This school has been around for nearly 50 years, and I trust those responsible that it will continue operating without interruption.”


The Tel Aviv-Yaffo municipality stated that “the site is being examined by the city’s department for hazardous buildings, and they took out a special warrant to fill in the cave according to the advice and directions of land consultants and the antiquities authority. Likewise, the state fenced in the northeastern part of the school.”


פרסום ראשון: 09.04.06, 22:08
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