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After a month of excavations at Tel Timna, initiated by the Benyamin Council and Bar-Ilan University, near the settlement of Neve Tzof, many archaeological finds of an ancient city that served as a regional center in end of the Second Temple period. Excavations at Tel Timna are among the first in Judea and Samaria since the 1980s.
The results of research carried out during the last month of excavations, as well as references to it in historical sources, testify to the central settlement that existed in the early Bronze Age and before the beginning of the Ottoman period. The settlement had regional, administrative and military significance. The site is identified with the city of Yehoshua ben Nun Timnat Serach/Cheres, a fortified city in the Hellenistic period and a regional center in the Roman period.
During the excavations carried out in the month of August, a large public mikveh, complete pottery, coins and bones were discovered. A rare coin from the time of the Great Revolt was also found, on which was written “Year of the Second Freedom of Zion”.
Despite its size and importance, the site was not excavated until last month, and information about it is obtained from archaeological and literary sources. Before the Six Day War, this place became a warehouse of Jordanian ammunition, and to this day there are communication passages that were used by the Jordanian army. The mound covers an area of about 50 dunams and is divided into two main parts: the top of the mound and its southern and western slopes. Survey results suggest that the top of the mound was inhabited from the Bronze Age to the Roman period, and the slopes were inhabited from the Hellenistic/Roman period to the late Arab period.
To the south of the mound extends a large necropolis with two tombs with decorated facades (observed before the beginning of the 20th century), which date back to the end of the Second Temple period. At the foot of the graves, in the center of a saddle south of the mound, a large purifying mikveh from the Second Temple period was discovered, which was used by the inhabitants of the site and perhaps even by pilgrims who passed through the site.
named after the Department of Studies and Archeology of the Land of Israel, Bar-Ilan University under the direction of Dr. Dvir Raviv, who said that “the study of the results of the excavations will shed light on the history of this region, the life and culture of its inhabitants in various periods, and especially in the early Roman period, when it was located in Tel Timna, one of the capitals of the Judea region.”
Head of the Regional Council, Benyamin Israel Gantz: “Here, in the center of the Benyamin district, in the center of the country, an ancient Jewish city was discovered, a significant settlement on the road to Jerusalem. Touching ancient pottery and other finds is like touching our origins and roots, it is very touching. Here we have the honor to continue the legacy of our ancestors. These discoveries — an answer to all who doubt the righteousness of our path and our presence here and in all Israel. Tel Timne after the excavations were completed (Photo: Benyamin Council Press Office)
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