1,600 year-old pottery kiln discovered in Galilee, Israel

An ancient, Roman-era pottery kiln dated over 1,600 years was discovered in Shlomi in the western Galilee. The discovery was made during a six-month archeological excavation at the Bat el-Jabal antiquities site.

Director of the excavation, Joppe Gosker of the Israel Antiquity Authority, described the significance of the discovery as the first kiln constructed entirely of bedrock in the region. He explained that it is a “unique kiln which was hewn in bedrock and is unlike most of the kilns known to us that were built of stone, earth and mud,” describing the ancient workshop as having “included a system for storing water, storage compartments, a kiln, etc. The kiln was meticulously constructed. It consisted of two chambers: one a firebox in which branches were inserted for burning, and a second chamber where the pottery vessels were placed that were fired in the scorching heat that was generated.”

He explained that “The ceramic debris that was piled up around the kiln indicates that two types of vessels were manufactured here: storage jars that could be transported overland, and jars with large handles (amphorae) that were used to store wine or oil which were exported from Israel by sea”.

In addition, remains of a royal gate structure were found at the site dated to the same period as the kiln, as well as walls and building structures from the Byzantine period.

One of the geologists from the excavation explained that the location of the quarrying of the kiln was “because of the special geological conditions found” that of chalk bedrock “which on the one hand is soft and therefore easily quarried, and on the other is sufficiently strong to endure the intense heat.”

The Bat el-Jabal site will become an archeological park after the excavation is completed.

This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, July 31, 2016 and reposted with permission.