Elementary school children from the Samaria region of the West Bank have made an exciting discovery during archeological excavations next to the Barkan industrial zone, finding oil lamps made of clay from the Talmudic period, an indication that a Jewish community lived there over 1,500 years ago.
The excavations were carried out as part of an educational project that aims to connect today's youth to Israel's legacy and history.
"During the excavations we found two clay oil lamps with decorations and protrusions that were made as they were casted," explained archeologist Ahiya Cohen-Tavor, who's collaborating on this dig with Ariel University.
"These kinds of lamps teach us a lot about the local population, since as night came, all family members would gather around them," he added.
In addition to the decorations, the potter's fingerprints were also found on the lamps, as the clay was fresh when the decorations were imprinted.
"This is delicate pottery made by artists, and in addition to its practical use, it also had a decorative use, since the lamp was placed in the center of the house. This comes to prove that during the Talmudic period, this place was inhabited."
Students 'very excited' with find
Yossi Dagan, the head of the Samaria Regional Council, visited the excavation site. "The decision to support the school in its goal to teach the students history through their hands and feet turned out to be a wise decision that bonds the students to the land and its roots. This shows the long-lasting bond between the Jewish nation and the Samaria region, a thousand-year-old bond to our land. If anyone wants to find our connection to this place, he can just start digging into the ground," he said.
Yoav Mustaki, Daniel Ben-Ami and Ido Haim, three of the students who uncovered the lamps, talked about how excited they had been by the discovery.
"It wasn't a given that I would dig and find something from 1,500 years ago," said Mustaki. "I imagined a family living a life different from ours with no light or electricity; I imagined the kids and how they must have felt in the darkness. It was very exciting."