Tag Archives: Archaeology

Ancient Stone Workshop Uncovered Near Site Where Jesus Turned Water Into Wine

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. John 2:1-2

Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. John 2: 6-7

Israeli archaeologists have uncovered a rare 2,000-year-old stone quarry and workshop located near the ancient Galilean town of Cana, which is recorded in the Christian Gospels as the place where Jesus turned water into wine.JNS

The quarry for producing chalkstone containers dating back to the Roman era is currently being excavated at Reina in Lower Galilee, by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). In this small cave archaeologists have uncovered thousands of chalkstone vessels such as mugs and bowls in varying stages of production.

The IAA director of the excavations, Dr Yonatan Adler, said: ‘In ancient times, most tableware, cooking pots and storage jars were made of pottery. In the first century of the Common Era, however, Jews throughout Judea and Galilee also used tableware and storage vessels made of soft, local chalkstone’.  ChristianToday

Archaeological excavations inside the ancient workshop at Reina in Lower Galilee. (Samuel Magal/IAA)

Cave – Quarry Workshop

What is rare, however, is to find a production center for such vessels. The four locations uncovered to date in Israel — two near Jerusalem, this one in Reina, and a fourth site found recently in its vicinity which is currently under excavation — highlight “the pivotal role of ritual purity observance not only in Jerusalem but in far-off Galilee as well,” said Adler.

The small cave in Reina was uncovered during the construction of a municipal sports center. So far archaeologists have unearthed thousands of pieces of chalkstone that were scooped out from the inside of cups and bowls as they were formed, and other types of production waste, including fragments of stone mugs and bowls in various stages of production, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority. TimesofIsrael

Stone vessels unearthed inside the ancient Galilee workshop. Images Source IAA

Stone Vessels Quarry Workshop

The quarry for producing chalkstone containers dating back to the Roman era is currently being excavated at Reina in Lower Galilee, by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). In this small cave archaeologists have uncovered thousands of chalkstone vessels such as mugs and bowls in varying stages of production.

The IAA director of the excavations, Dr Yonatan Adler, said: ‘In ancient times, most tableware, cooking pots and storage jars were made of pottery. In the first century of the Common Era, however, Jews throughout Judea and Galilee also used tableware and storage vessels made of soft, local chalkstone’.

The choice of chalkstone was apparently a religious one, centered on the idea of Jewish ritual purity. Adler said: ‘According to ancient Jewish ritual law, vessels made of pottery are easily made impure and must be broken. Stone, on the other hand, was thought to be a material which can never become ritually impure, and as a result ancient Jews began to produce some of their everyday tableware from stone.

‘Although chalkstone vessels are well known at many Jewish sites throughout the country, it is extremely unusual to uncover a site where such vessels where actually produced.’

He added: ‘Our excavations are highlighting the pivotal role of ritual purity observance not only in Jerusalem but in far-off Galilee as well’.

The use of stone vessels is noted across historical sources from the era, not least the Gospel of John. In the story of the wedding at Cana, where Christ famously turned water into wine, John writes: ‘Now there were six stone water jars set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing 20 or 20 gallons each’ (John 2:6).  ChristianToday

Video:  Excavations in Galilee Reveal a 2,000 Year-Old Stone Vessel Production Center

Roman City That Was Home To Jesus’s Apostles Has Been Found In Israel, Archaeologists Say

Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida.   John 1:44

They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”   John 12:21

Archaeologists say they have discovered a lost Roman city that was home to three of Jesus’s apostles—Peter, Andrew and Philip—on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel.

The Israeli researchers’ claim centers on the discovery of remains from a Roman-style bathhouse in the Bethsaida Valley Nature Reserve, which is said to be the former location of the lost Roman city of Julias.  JNSMap Source:  Daily Mail UK

A team found a Roman-style bathhouse on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel that could be a remnant of Julias, the city that Peter, Andrew and Philip called home, Haaretz reported.

The bathhouse, uncovered at a site called el-Araj in the Bethsaida nature reserve, suggests that there was once a city in that location, as opposed to just a fishing village, which backs up information from the first-century Jewish historian Josephus Flavius — he wrote that the Jewish monarch King Philip Herod, son of Herod the Great, turned the Bethsaida fishing village into a Roman city.  IBTimes

The lost Roman city of Julias, home of three apostles of Jesus. Zachary Wong

Josephus Flavius – Bethsaida

None other than the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius – in fact the only source describing this city’s existence – wrote that the Jewish monarch King Philip Herod, son of the great vassal King Herod, transformed Bethsaida, which had been a Jewish fishing village, into a real Roman polis (Ant. 18:28. Though whether it was built on Bethsaida, or by it, remains unknown.)

Philip flatteringly renamed the city “Julias” after Livia Drusilla, who after marriage would become known as Julia Augusta, the mother of the Roman Emperor Tiberius.

“Josephus reported that the king had upgraded Bethsaida from a village into a polis, a proper city,” Aviam says meticulously. “He didn’t say it had been built on or beside or underneath it. And indeed, all this time, we have not known where it was. But the bathhouse attests to the existence of urban culture.”

Josephus himself would take over fortifying Bethsaida’s defenses (as reported by himself) ahead of the Great Jewish Revolt against Rome that began in 67 C.E., and would end in disaster for the Jews in 70 C.E.  Josephus himself claims to have been hurt in battle in the swamp near Julias (Life 399-403). Haaretz

Pottery shards and a mosaic were also found at the site.  The Roman layer was discovered is 211 meters (about 700 feet) below sea level.

A Roman bathhouse with mosaic fragments.Zachary Wong

What the archaeologists found at el-Araj is an older layer dating from the late Roman period, the 1st to 3rd centuries C.E., two meters below the Byzantine level. That Roman layer contained pottery sherds from the 1st to the 3rd centuries B.C.E., a mosaic, and the remains of the bathhouse. Two coins were found, a bronze coin from the late 2nd century and a silver denarius featuring the Emperor Nero from the year 65-66 C.E.

And has a major missing church been found too? The excavators found walls with gilded glass tesserae for a mosaic, an indication of a wealthy and important church. Willibald, the bishop of Eichstätt in Bavaria, visited the Holy Land in 725 C.E., and in his itinerary, he describes his visit to a church at Bethsaida that was built over the house of Peter and Andrew. It may well be that the current excavations have unearthed evidence for that church, say the archaeologists. Haaretz

Online:  Haaretz – The Lost Home of Jesus’ Apostles Has Just Been Found, Archaeologists Say

Evidence Of Babylonian Destruction Of Jerusalem 2,600 Years Ago Unearthed In City Of David

He burned the house of the Lord, the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; even every large house he burned with fire.  Jeremiah 52:13

New finds in the City of David confirm the veracity of the biblical account of the Babylonian capture and conquest of First Temple period Jerusalem. The event is commemorated next Tuesday on the Hebrew date Tisha B’av (August 1) in a day of fasting and mourning, Israeli experts said.

According to Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Dr. Joe Uziel, co-director of the current excavations at the City of David, findings discovered in the site’s eastern slope, including a row of 2,600-year-old rooms and their contents — all covered with visible layers of charcoal ash — aid in understanding the days leading up to and the act of the destruction.

Shattered jugs attesting to the destruction (Eliyahu Yanai/City of David Archive)

Within the collapsed rooms were uncovered rare artifacts, including a unique, apparently Egyptian, ivory statue of a nude woman, and smashed pottery jars with a rosette seal which was in royal use during the final decade before the fall of the First Temple, according to co-director Ortal Chalaf.

“These seals are characteristic of the end of the First Temple period and were used for the administrative system that developed towards the end of the Judean dynasty. Classifying objects facilitated controlling, overseeing, collecting, marketing and storing crop yields. The rosette, in essence, replaced the ‘For the King’ seal used in the earlier administrative system,” said Chalaf.

ivory statue in the image of a woman (Clare Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority)

Additionally, charred remains of wood, grape seeds, and fish scales and bones will be carbon dated by members of the interdisciplinary cooperative team of Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists and Weizmann Institute scientists Elisabetta Boaretto and her postdoctoral fellow Johanna Regev, who were present at the dig site.

Researchers discovered dozens of jars used to store grains and liquids – many of which have stamped handles and rosette seals (Eliyahu Yanai/City of David Archive)

According to biblical descriptions, in 586 BCE, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar vanquished the Judaean king Zedekiah and razed his capital city, Jerusalem. The Babylonian captain of the guard Nebuzaradan was dispatched into the city, where, as told in the Book of Jeremiah, he “burned the house of the Lord, and the king’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, even every great man’s house, burned he with fire.”

At the dig site, the rampant destruction caused by a fiery inferno is clearly seen. Burnt charcoal layers of destruction preserved flooring and utensils in situ, giving a stark picture of the immediacy of the blaze.  TimesOfIsrael

Video:   Evidence of Babylonian Destruction of Jerusalem Found at the City of David

1,600-Year-Old Byzantine-Era Stone Wine Press Found In The Ramat, Negev Region

Cool!

Digging in the ancient 1,600-year-old wine press in Ramat Negev. (Tali Gini, Israel Antiquities Authority)

A lare Byzantine-era wine press uncovered in the Negev region is only the second of its kind to be found…

According to the archaeologist of the southern Negev region Yoram Chaimi, the discovery of the wine press came as a complete surprise. “In the entire southern Negev region, there is only one other wine press that is included inside an enclosed structure, which is in [the Nabataean city] of Avdat,” also along the incense trade route.

Gini hypothesized as to why the wine press was abandoned. “In the middle of the sixth century CE, there was a disastrous plague, which led to less need of wine in the southern regions. After the plague, they continued to use the building, but not the winepress,” she said. At the end of the Byzantine period, the area was deserted.  TimesofIsrael

The wine press in Ramat Negev is intermeshed with a building. (Davida Dagan, Israel Antiquities Authority)

Wine-Making

Haimi, who is heading an ongoing dig aimed at unearthing the history of the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland, took a moment to speak to The Jerusalem Post while supervising excavation of the ancient wine press.

“Wine-making at the time was done using human labor,” he said. “The workers would step on the grapes, then the pulp would be delivered to a basin where the clear liquid would surface and the dregs sink. This clear liquid is tirosh, the grape juice most Israelis associate with childhood Seder meals in which they were given the sweet, nonalcoholic tirosh to drink for the traditional four cups of wine.

“The tirosh would be moved to fermentation pots. Negev wines were held in very high esteem at the time, like the boutique wines of today,’ said Haimi.

Wine production in the region went smoothly until a plague in the sixth century CE led to the decline of wine-making in southern Israel. The wine industry came to halt with the Arab conquest of the Levant and the end of the Byzantine period.  Jpost

Impressive 2,700-Year-Old Water System Discovered In Central Israel

A major water system from the 1st Temple era was found in central Israel.

An impressively large 2,700-year-old water system was recently exposed at Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) excavations near Rosh Ha-Ayin, in central Israel, with the help of students majoring in the Education Ministry’s Land of Israel and Archaeology studies. The excavation precedes the construction of a new residential neighborhood initiated by the Ministry of Construction and Housing.

In antiquity, rainwater collection and storage was a fundamental necessity. With an annual rainfall of 500 mm [20 in], the region’s winter rains would easily have filled the huge reservoir. On its walls, near the entrance, human figures were identified, crosses, and a vegetal motif that were probably carved by a passersby in a later period. Overall, seven figures measuring 15–30 cm [6-12 in], most with outstretched arms and a few appear to be holding some kind of object.

The water system was found to be nearly 20 meters [66 ft] long and reaches a depth of over four meters [13 ft]. The excavations reveal that the reservoir was built beneath a large structure with walls that are all nearly 50 meters [164 ft] long. Some of the potsherds found on the floors of the rooms probably belonged to vessels used to draw water from the reservoir. It is highly likely that the structure and the reservoir were built at the end of the Iron Age (late eighth or early seventh century BC), but whereas the building was abandoned during the Persian period the reservoir was still in use until modern times.

High school students majoring in the Education Ministry’s Land of Israel and Archaeology track participated in the Rosh Ha-Ayin excavations as part of the Ministry and the IAA’s new educational program, which is designed to connect students with the past and train the archaeologists of tomorrow. Students opting for this track as part of their chosen matriculation assessment join an excavation for a week. They experience the various tasks involved in the excavation, discuss the research questions and archaeological considerations, and document the dig in the excavation journal as part of their research work.In recent years, a number of other farmsteads built at the end of the First Temple period have been discovered near Rosh Ha-Ayin. They were probably erected after the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel in 720 BC, when the Assyrian empire dominated the region.

The establishment of farmhouses in this area is interesting, given the fact that many regions within the decimated kingdom of Israel remained desolate. Some scholars believe that the establishment of the farmsteads was motivated by the empire’s wish to settle the area, which lay on an international route and near the western border of the Assyrian empire. According to IAA excavation director, Gilad Itach, “The structure exposed in this excavation is different from most of the previously discovered farmsteads. Its orderly plan, vast area, strong walls, and the impressive water reservoir hewn beneath it suggest that the site was administrative in nature and it may well have controlled the surrounding farmsteads.”

In cooperation with the Ministry of Construction and Housing and Rosh Ha-Ayin Municipality, the IAA has plans for the site to remain an open area accessible to the public adjacent to the new residential neighborhood.

Video: Impressive 2,700-Year-Old Water System Discovered Near Rosh Ha-Ayin”>Impressive 2,700-Year-Old Water System Discovered Near Rosh Ha-Ayin.

Ancient Jugs Predating First Temple Unearthed At Shiloh

And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them.  Joshua 18:1

“The jugs, only some of which were broken, date to the time when the Jewish people first entered the land of Israel. “

The twisted ram’s horn shofar sounded loudly through the hills at Shiloh, signaling the end to another day’s search for the biblical holy tabernacle. As elusive as the Ark of the Covenant that it housed during the Israelites’ travels from Egypt through their settlement in Canaan, the tabernacle is depicted in the Bible (Exodus 25:8-9) as the earthly home for God — God’s “dwelling place” among his people.

Repeated excavations have attempted to find earthly evidence of the godly home, here at Shiloh and elsewhere. Similarly, many archaeologists have sought artifacts and evidence tying Joshua’s biblical Israelite conquest of Shiloh to this site. None has succeeded. TimesOfIsrael

Jugs unearthed at the site of the ancient city Shiloh, 2017. (Shiloh Association)

Ten ancient jugs unearthed at the Samaria site of the ancient city of Shiloh could lead researchers to new discoveries about the Jewish tabernacle that existed there before the First Temple was built in Jerusalem.

The jugs, only some of which were broken, date to the time when the Jewish people first entered the land of Israel. The vessels were unearthed approximately half a meter (20 inches) underground in a large room that is part of an ongoing archaeological excavation. The Bible attributes the tabernacle at Shiloh to the time of the High Priest Eli and the Prophet Samuel.

In recent years, the Archaeological Unit of Israel’s Civil Administration has been excavating together with the Shiloh Association. The goal of the work is to locate the southern wall of ancient Shiloh.

The Bible states in the in 1 Samuel 4, in the book of Jeremiah, and the Psalms that Shiloh was destroyed when the Israelites were defeated by the Philistines, who also stole the Ark of the Covenant.

The newly discovered jugs indicate that in ancient times, the area was vacated abruptly, with residents not having enough time to collect and pack up their belongings. Among the jugs, the archaeologists also found a goblet known as a kobaat, a type of ritual chalice. The discovery of the kobaat ties in with the stone altar that was unearthed in the area a few years ago, and could indicate that researchers are closing in on the precise location of the Shiloh tabernacle.

Hanina Hizami, coordination officer for archaeology at the Civil Administration, said, “This is a very exciting find. The destruction could have been caused by the Philistine invasion and the fire that raged [at Shiloh].” BreakingNewsIsrael

Video: Shiloh Pictures and Pottery

Online:  Times of Israel – With Bibles and shovels, a search for the biblical tabernacle gathers pace at Shiloh

Biblical King’s Palace Found Under Shrine Destoryed by ISIS

ISIS is going around destroying any and all historical sites that belong to any religion besides Islam.

But they may have just unwittingly helped prove the veracity of at least one book of the Bible.

While occupying the Iraqi city of Mosul, ISIS demolished the traditional Tomb of Jonah, the biblical prophet tasked with preaching to the people of the Assyrian capital of Nineveh.

After ISIS was recently pushed out of Mosul, archeologists had a chance to examine the wreckage, and made a stunning discovery.

Fox News reported that below the ancient tomb lies the long-lost palace of the Assyrian King Sennacherib, whose invasion of Judah and miraculous defeat before the walls of Jerusalem is extensively documented in the Bible.

In the palace, archeologists have begun to uncover ancient inscriptions and documents from the time of Sennacherib, his son King Esarhaddon, and his son King Ashurbanipal.

The find is one of the more exciting archeological finds in recent years, and provides yet further evidence that the biblical account of Middle East history is accurate.

Article courtesy of I IsraelToday

Ancient Egyptian Royal Statues Unearthed In Cairo Slum

Archaeologists from Egypt and Germany discovered a massive 26ft (8 metre) statue submerged in ground water in a Cairo slum which could depict one of history’s most famous rulers, Pharaoh Ramses II.

Archaeologists in a Cairo suburb – once the site of the ancient capital of Heliopolis – found two 3000-year-old pharaonic statues.

The statues are thought to represent Pharaohs from the 19th dynasty.

One statue stands 26ft (8 metres) tall and is carved out of quartzite – a tough stone composed mainly of quartz.

It could not be identified from its engravings but it was found at the entrance to the temple of King Ramses II – also known as Ramses the Great – suggesting it represents him.

The other relic is a limestone statue of 12th century BC ruler King Seti II [Ramses II’s grandson]. DailyMail

Video:

Research Findings Dating Back To Kings David And Solomon In Timna Valley

The ancient copper mines in Timna, in Israel’s Arava Valley in the Sinai Peninsula, are believed by many to be the site of King Solomon’s mines and believed to have been operated by the early Edomites.

Citing the biblical story about King David traveling with his soldiers to the land of Edom, where a major battle took place with the Edomites by the Dead Sea, Ben-Yosef said his team may have found evidence of the bloody conflict.

According to the Bible, Edom stretched from the Sinai Peninsula to the southern border of Canaan and Kingdom of Judah and as far west as Eilat, where it maintained its seaport. As David expanded his reign, Samuel 8:13 states that his army vanquished 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt.

Following the victory, David turned Edom into an Israelite province ruled by handpicked governors.

“You cannot overstate the importance of copper in the Levant during the 10th century BC,” said Ben-Yosef. “It was the oil of the time and produced agricultural tools and weapons.”  JPost

Archaeologists discovered elements that date back to the biblical era of King David and King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. with a highly organized defense system.

The archeological team, led by Tel Aviv University’s Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef, first found a wall of the 10th-century BCE copper-smelting site near Timna Park in the southern desert where the world’s first copper mine is believed to have been located.

The archaeologists, led by Erez Ben-Yosef of Tel Aviv University, think these features show that this Iron Age settlement had a highly organized defense system and depended on an impressive network of long-distance trade. LiveScience

Unraveling the history of an ancient military fortification.

According to Ben-Yosef, the wall his team found was five meters high and once stretched for hundreds of meters.

In addition to the wall, the archeologists uncovered sling stones, donkey bones and dung on both sides of a gatehouse.

What the donkeys were feed.

Built of sturdy stone to defend against invasions, the fortification had pens for draft animals and other livestock. By studying pollen, seed and fauna in the dung, experts found that the animals were fed with hay and the remains of grapes, which was delivered from the Mediterranean coast hundreds of miles away.  FoxNews

“You have to remember the copper was used to [sustain life], and the nearest water source was 15 kilometers away,” he said.  JPost

Humans were not feed a slave diet.

Despite ancient accounts that the mines were operated by slaves, the researcher said mining experts likely oversaw and trained apprentices to extricate the valuable natural resource.  JPost

Previous research by Ben-Yosef’s team found that the laborers did not have a typical slave’s diet; instead, the metalworkers ate good cuts of meat, pistachios and fish imported from the Mediterranean, suggesting they had a rather high status and were valued for their craft. LiveScience

1,950-year-old Coin Unearthed In The City Of David In Jerusalem

The coins are from the time of the Jewish revolt against the Romans.

Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud) presented the coin at the beginning of cabinet meeting discussing symbols and ceremonies for the commemoration of the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem.

“In 1967, exactly 1900 years (after this coin was minted), IDF paratroopers entered the Old City of Jerusalem and liberated it – they returned Jewish sovereignty to Jerusalem,” Regev said.

A 1,950-year-old coin has been found following excavations in the City of David in Jerusalem.

There is a grape leaf on one side of the coin with the words “Freedom for Zion,” while on the reverse is a cup with the words “Year two of the large revolt.” This dates the coin to the second year of the Jewish revolt against the Romans, putting the coin at being minted in 67 CE.

The coin was found in an area known as “Pilgrims’ Road,” which was the road Jewish pilgrims would have used to go up to the Temple to make ritual sacrifices during Jubilee holidays.

The Pilgrims’ Road, along with other roads in Jerusalem dating back 2000 years, will be opened to the public this Hanukkah. There will be a grand opening hosted by the Ministry of Culture along with the Israel Antiquities Authority. This will serve as the opening event celebrating 50 years since the liberation of Jerusalem from Jordanian rule. YNetNews

4,000-Year-Old ‘Thinker’ Sculpture Discoverd In Israel

A cool find dating to around the time of Abraham.

thinker-statue-israel

A ceramic vessel bearing the sculpture of a pensive-looking figure has been found in the Israeli city of Yehud.

The vessel dates back about 4,000 years, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Archaeologists found the artifact during excavations in advance of a new housing development.

“It seems that at first the jug, which is typical of the period, was prepared, and afterwards, the unique sculpture was added, the likes of which have never before been discovered in previous research,” Gilad Itach, the IAA excavation director, said in a statement.

The unusual vessel is only about 7 inches (18 centimeters) tall. The container itself is an oblong oval shape, while the figure atop the vessel sits with one arm resting on its knees and the other propping up its chin.

“The level of precision and attention to detail in creating this almost 4,000-year-old sculpture is extremely impressive,” Itach said.

Researchers discovered the vessel alongside other items, including arrowheads, an axe head, sheep bones, daggers and what appear to be donkey bones. These were likely funerary objects, originally buried alongside the body of an important person, Ministry of Education official Efrat Zilber said in the statement.

“To the best of my knowledge, such a rich funerary assemblage that also includes such a unique pottery vessel has never before been discovered in the country,” Zilber said.

Deeper excavations revealed artifacts dating back at least 6,000 years. These included pottery vessels, flint and basalt tools, and animal bones, according to the IAA. Researchers also found a Copper Age butter churn. LiveScience

Online:  See more photos of the sculpture and vessel from Yehud.

Archaeologists Discover Exact Spot Of Original 1620 Plymouth Settlement

The general area of the first settlement has long been known, researchers from UMass Boston say their find is the first conclusive proof of the exact location of the first settlement.

Three hundred and ninety-five years after Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts, researchers from UMass Boston’s Andrew Fiske Memorial Center for Archaeological Research can say they have definitively discovered evidence of the original 1620 Plymouth settlement. Part of the proof involves a calf that UMass Boston students have affectionately named Constance.

For the fourth summer, David Landon, associate director of the Fiske Center, led a group of undergraduate and graduate students in a field school in Plymouth offered through UMass Boston’s College of Advancing and Professional Studies. Landon and the students spent five weeks on Burial Hill looking for the site of the original Pilgrim settlement. Landon’s goal when he started was to find evidence of the original settlement prior to the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Plymouth Colony in 2020. He met his goal four years early, in the first year of a three-year, $200,000 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant.

Because the original structures weren’t built with bricks, the research team couldn’t look for foundations. Rather, they had to look for “post and ground construction” – basically holes for wood, and dirt…

But then Landon’s team did start finding 17th century artifacts: 17th century pottery, tins, trade beads, and musket balls – around that post and ground construction. Landon says the students and researchers were at this point cautiously optimistic that they had found a location inside the settlement walls. And then they found “Constance” – a calf buried whole in the bottom-most pit. Because native people didn’t have domestic cattle, Landon says we know that she lived – and died — in the confines of the original Plymouth settlement.

plymouth-pilgrams-cow

“Constance is a great symbol of this. Oftentimes success in the colony depended on herds of cattle. It became a centerpiece of the economy. So the calf does connect us to that story,” Landon said.

Kathryn Ness is the curator of collections at Plimoth Plantation, UMass Boston’s partner in this project. She says this discovery is huge.

“Finding evidence of colonial activity inside the original 1620 Plymouth settlement is an incredibly exciting discovery that has the potential to change dramatically our understanding of early European colonization in New England. For the first time, we have proof of where the settlement was located and what kinds of items the Pilgrims owned and used,” Ness said. “At Plimoth Plantation, the team’s findings will help us further refine our exhibits, as we use archaeological evidence and historical documents as the basis for our portrayal of the past and to ensure that our buildings, activities, and reproduction objects are as accurate as possible. We are looking forward to learning more about their discoveries and seeing what they find next season!”  UMB