4th Graders Uncover Ancient Oil Lamp in Northern Israel

Three 4th-grade boys walking around a kibbutz in the Upper Galilee thought they had discovered a strange stone partially sticking up from the ground. However, when the trio worked to carefully extract the “stone,” they realized that they had unearthed an ancient oil lamp instead.

Alon Cohen, Liam Atias, and Rotem Levnat took the clay lamp to their parents, who then contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

“Thanks to the discovery of the lamp close to Hanukkah, we received a greeting from the Jewish settlement of ancient Parod,” said the IAA Director of Education, Einat Ambar-Armon. “The lamp that was revealed is a typical lamp for the Jewish settlement in the early Roman period. For the most part, the lamps of this type are without decoration, in contrast to the Roman lamps of the same period. This is a special discovery. It is quite rare to find just a whole lamp like this.”

Ancient Parod was believed to be home to a large Jewish community during Roman times…and when Yeshua lived in and traveled through the Galilee.

The 2,000-year-old lamp was discovered in the modern Kibbutz Parod, nearby an archaeological site the IAA is currently exploring before the kibbutz builds a planned new neighborhood.

“Discovery of the lamp may give us a clue as to how far the borders of the ancient site reached,” archaeologist Haim Mamliya said. “If it weren’t for the children, we wouldn’t know this. There is no doubt that the find sheds new and interesting light on the excavation.”

The three children and their parents all received a “good citizen” certificate from the IAA for their careful handling of the artifact and for turning it in so it could be on display for all to enjoy.

You may wonder how average 9-year-old boys knew how to excavate the oil lamp and then not keep it for themselves or toss it aside. In the Holy Land, where the Jewish people, as well as various nations who have invaded and taken over the land temporarily, have lived for thousands of years, finding an artifact can happen just about anywhere at any time. As Israelis, it’s our “patriotic duty” to treat artifacts with respect. It’s part of our heritage and history. The boys’ principal also attributes their actions to the field trip students from the city of Nof HaGalil take each year to participate in the Nahal Parod stream preservation project.

The IAA director thinks the surfacing of the lamp was part of the Hanukkah “miracles” that happen annually.

“Every year, thanks to the timing of rains that hit us before and close to the Hanukkah holiday, we receive ‘Hanukkah miracles’ and amazing surprises, glimpses coming from the ground,” IAA director Eli Eskosido said.

In November, eighth graders, on a field trip near Tel Aviv, discovered a 3,000-year-old scarab seal from Egypt. The seal and the lamp are now a part of the Israeli state archives.

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