Ancient treasure trove revealed in archaeology dig

Jewelry found in ancient Crusader cookhouse (Photo: Vered Bosidan/ Israel Antiquities Authority)

Scheduled archaeological digs carried out at Givat HaTitora in Modi’in — halfway between Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem, and the coastal city of Tel Aviv — a surprise treasure trove was uncovered in the form of bronze and silver jewelry dating back 900 years.

The dig, which took place between between March 19 and June 15, involved around 2,500 schoolchildren and volunteers of all ages. The project was steered by the Israeli Antiquities Authority and the Modi’in Municipality.

The search for hidden mysteries proved fruitful.

A spokesperson from the IAA said that in their digging, the students revealed a kitchen of a Crusader fortress. In the ancient cookhouse they uncovered clay pots, serving platters, jars and evidence of the Crusader diet in the form of animal bones, olive pits and grape seeds.

It is also in the kitchen where they discovered the jewelry. The jewelry collection is comprised of hair accessories, earrings, rings, bracelets and other trinkets — all likely last worn nine decades ago. It became evident that the former occupants had worn bronze and silver jewelry in the kitchen while cooking and baking over a period of a few hundred years, during the Middle Ages.

The excavation director said that the youngsters also exposed the inner courtyard of the fortress.

Archaeologists believe that Givat HaTitora is more than likely the original city of Modi’in mentioned in the Mishnah. It is in a strategic location that could have made it the significant way-station on the main road to and from Jerusalem. During the 1990s, archaeological excavations were carried out on the hill exposing ruins from around 6,000 years ago through the Israelite period and up to the Bar Kokhba rebellion. Under the hill city, there are caves and tunnels that experts believe were used for burial and storage.

The Modi’in municipality and the IAA promote Givat Titora as a nature reserve and heritage site. With its advantageous elevation, panoramic views and observation points, as well as rich history, animal life and archaeology, it has long been a tourist attraction. With these latest discoveries and plans to further develop the site, it promises to draw even more visitors in the future.