An Ancient Pottery Factory Discovered in the Galilee

August 3, 2016 | Megan Gannon
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Archaeologists recently unearthed a Byzantine-era workshop near the Lebanon border that produced vessels for wine and oil. Unlike most similar sites from the same period, this one has a kiln hewn directly in the bedrock. Megan Gannon writes:

The Roman kiln had two chambers: one firebox where branches and tinder would have been burned, and another chamber where the clay vessels would have been placed to harden under the intense heat.

[The archaeologists] found fragments of storage jars that could be transported overland, as well as vessels known as amphorae that had large handles and were used to hold wine or oil, likely to be exported from Israel by sea.

Special geological conditions . . . made the area a good spot for this rare type of kiln. . . [T]he region has chalky bedrock, which is soft enough to be easily quarried and yet durable enough to endure the heat of the pottery-firing process. . . .

The archaeologists also uncovered an ancient water-storage system and some mosaic floor tiles, and surveys in the area identified the remains of walls that probably date to the Byzantine period, or 4th to 7th centuries CE.

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