Pint-Sized Archaeologists in Israel Unearth 1,400-Year-Old Wine Press


It was the stuff of a young archaeologist's dreams. 
This week several Israeli news outlets reported that young boy and his pals excavated a nearly 1,500-year-old wine press in Jerusalem.
“The find was initially dug up by the boys, aged around 13 years old, who described themselves as archaeology buffs,” a story by i24 News said. “After an alert citizen jogging in the area noticed the ancient stone structure, she notified the Israeli Archaeological Institute (IAI), who sent inspectors over to examine the site.”
News outlet Haaretz said that the inspectors were impressed with the boys’ work.
“The inspectors who rushed over agreed that somebody seemed to have been excavating methodically, and with care,” Haaretz reported.
However, the story said, the experts didn’t know who was doing the work until a young boy who was gazing at the site told them the truth.
“Before we could even ask what he was doing there, the boy ran up and openly and proudly told us that he and his friends were archaeology buffs and had done this excavation,” IAI archaeologist Amit Ram told Haaretz.
According to the i24 News story, the wine press measured five meters by five meters and was “carved into the soft stone of the Jerusalem hills in (the) Neve Yaakov neighborhood.” 
The IAA experts said the wine press dates back between 1,400 and 1,500 years. 
According to the story, what the boys did would usually be considered illegal. 
“Unauthorized digs such as the one carried out by the boys are against the law in Israel, since excavations that are not handled by professionals can unwittingly lead to the destruction of precious historic information,” the story said. 
Though the boys’ secret dig was against the law, Ram told Haaretz this case is a little different than the usual illegal dig. 
He said that he saw a little bit of himself in the boy’s curiosity for history and  archaeology.
“On the one hand, it’s a crime,” he said. “on the other hand I realized it was done in innocence, and I was touched to the core by the boy’s story – which reminded me of my boyhood, at age 12 or 13.”
Rather than condemn what the boys did, Ram said he and his colleagues encouraged the youngsters to use their skills and interest for the community. 
“We suggested that the boy and their friends channel their energies to works for the community,” Ram said.
Photo Credit: Pixabay

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