Family Digs Reveal Rare Byzantine Iron Hammer

If your family had spent your summer vacation volunteering at an archaeological site, your child might have the best begining-of-the-year theme: “What I did this summer.”

This 1960s boy is digging at Henley Temple. Photo in Morguefile.

“A family volunteering at excavations at Usha, the first location of the Sanhedrin following the Bar Kochba revolt, discovered a previously unknown iron industry at the site and a rare 1,400-year-old iron hammer…”

In an article titled, Nailed it: Rare 1,400-year-old iron hammer found by family at Sanhedrin site, the Time of Israel reports a rare and important find by volunteers at the excavations at Western Galilee’s Usha. This dig was a Jewish settlement after the fall of the Second Temple. From that time until the middle of the Byzantine era, many generations of Jews lived at Usha. Usha was later settled by Christian residents, and artifacts that confirm their settlement have been found at the site.

During the Sukkot holiday, the excavation site near modern Kiryat Ata was open to the public for two days. Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles, is one of the three biblically based pilgrimage holidays in which many families use hammer and nails to construct temporary shelters called sukkahs.

‘Ironically,’ the discovery of the middle Byzantine era hammer and nails uncovered a previously unknown iron industry which took place at this site.

For the entire story, details of the discoveries at Usha, and great photographs, read the entire Times of Israel article: Nailed it: Rare 1,400-year-old iron hammer found by family at Sanhedrin site.

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