Archaeologists have discovered an ancient Jewish village from around the same time that Jesus was walking the Earth. They uncovered the village when they were working on the grounds to build a new elementary school.
Ya’akov Billig, who is in charge of the excavations at the site for the Israel Antiquities Authority, informed CBN News, “The most spectacular find here is a grand burial estate.” The location of this village would have been a suburb of Jerusalem around two thousand years ago.
Billig continued by saying, “The burial estate starts from a stepped, long corridor going under a bridge like an overpass into a courtyard with a bench on one side and a bench on another side,” adding, “Then, from there upwards there was a covered barrel entrance to the burial cave and from there on inwards is the underground burial cave.”
The burial site belonged to a very rich and/or important family who may have even used the site for numerous generations. A Jewish ritual bath was among several of the other things found at the site.
They grew several important agricultural products there as well. “One of the agricultural products that was grown here and produced, there were probably grape vineyards. We have evidence of the winepress with a very large treading floor where they placed the grapes,” Billig explained. “We also have an olive press. Between the wine and the olive oil they probably had quite a high living standard here.”
There was also a smaller olive press found which was where the real virgin olive oil was produced. It’s believed that some of the harvest was brought to the Temple which was located an hour away by foot. Additionally, a dovecote was found at the site and would have been used for raising doves and pigeons.
These incredible discoveries will help researchers to better understand the people from that time period. “They had probably a lot of interaction with the population of the city – maybe even with the pilgrims who made pilgrimage to the city,” Billig explained, “We can’t forget that Jerusalem had to be supplied by produce, of agriculture products and here we have evidence of growing grapes, producing wine, growing olives, producing olive oil, growing pigeons, supplying the population with poultry, with eggs, also sacrifices for the Temple.”
Other items that were found at the site, including pieces of pottery and a rare heart-shaped capital, are going to be preserved at a different location. Since the school is still going to be built on the site, Billig said he hopes that the things that can’t be moved – such as the olive press and the burial cave – will still be protected and preserved.