Treasure trove discovered at Canaanite palace in Gezer

Excavations of Tel Gezer, the biblical Gezer, in the foothills of the Judean Hills, Israel, revealed a hoard of rare gold and silver objects dating back to the Canaanite period 3600 years ago.

The Canaanite palace in Gezer (by Tel Gezer Excavation Project, Steven M. Ortiz)
The Canaanite palace in Gezer (by Tel Gezer Excavation Project, Steven M. Ortiz)

Archaeologists of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, under the auspices of the Israel Antiquities Authority conducted excavations at the Tel Gezer National Park, between Latrun and Ramle in central Israel. The treasure consists of figurines of the Canaanite counterparts of the Akkadian deities Ishtar, goddess of fertility, sex, love and war; and Sin, god of the moon,  a silver pendant, and a scarab in a gold bezel from the era of Hyksos rule over ancient Egypt. The silver pendant features a disc with a relief carving of an eight-pointed star, which has a prominent sphere in the centre. At the edge of the disc are two narrow cylinders for a lace or chain, to which a crescent is affixed.

The silver pendant (by Clara Amit)
The silver pendant (by Clara Amit)

The treasure was discovered inside a clay vessel within the foundations of a building, leading the archaeologists to suggest it was deliberately placed there as an offering to the gods to bless the building.

The scarab (by Chet Roden)
The scarab (by Chet Roden)

The silver pendant is said to be the best-preserved example of an item of this kind ever found in Israel. The trove was found within a lidded clay vessel and possibly was wrapped in a woven cloth that has been identified as linen and that left an impression on part of the finding.

Pot in which the treasure was found (by Chet Roden)
Pot in which the treasure was found (by Chet Roden)

According to archaeologists, the site in the Canaanite period was one of the most important cities in the Land of Israel, and its importance persisted into the Israelite period, when King Solomon rebuilt it.

Philistine bichromatic and multicoloured pottery (by Sam Wolff)
Philistine bichromatic and multicoloured pottery (by Sam Wolff)

(after Haaretz, The Times of Israel, Sam Wolff, Chet Roden, Clara Amit, Tel Gezer Excavation Project & Steven M. Ortiz)

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