Second Temple Period Jars Found

Discovered in water hole at Khirbet Kafr Mer on West Bank

Jars and object found at Beit El

Photo: COGAT

Clay objects and dozens of jars were found in what had been a water hole at the Khirbet Kafr Mer site in Beit El, on the West Bank. They had been lined up and systematically stored in large plastered recesses of the water hole for hundreds of years, starting some 2,000 years ago, in the Second Temple period. This systematic storage tells researchers that the water hole’s primary use shifted from water source to storage area.

Stone Table at Khirbet Kafr Mer

Photo: COGAT

The excavation at Khirbet Kafr Mer has been conducted by the Civil Administration (COGAT) for more than ten years. Researchers have concluded that it was occupied from the 8th century B.C.E. into the Byzantine period, but was most developed in the Second Temple period.  Another recent discovery at that site include an intricately decorated stone table that probably belonged to a wealthy Jewish family.

Over the years the excavations have yielded many finds. A large wall, hastily erected, from the time of the Jewish Revolt in the first century C.E. was discovered. Also ritual baths (mikveh), an oil mill, residential buildings, and many smaller objects.

Read the article in the Jerusalem Post.

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Ancient Israel’s Stone Age: Purity in Second Temple times by Yitzhak Magen. In the decades before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple in 70 C.E., Jews gave a new and heightened emphasis to ritual purity. In fact, purity laws may have been interpreted more strictly at this time than at any point before—or since.

Stepped Pools and Stone Vessels: Rethinking Jewish Purity Practices in Palestine by Cecilia Wassén. To what extent were Jewish purity practices around the turn of the Common Era related to the Jerusalem Temple? Scholars often associate purity concerns primarily with the Temple cult, since ritual purity was required of the participants. Both the priests serving in the Temple and the laypeople who ventured into the women’s court and beyond had to be ritually pure. Ritual purity was also necessary for eating sacred food, which applied to priestly families and laypeople eating portions of the offerings (Leviticus 7:20-21; Numbers 9:1-12).

How Water Tunnels Worked: Jerusalem, Megiddo, Hazor, Gezer and Gibeon all had systems to bring water safely within their city walls during time of siege—Cole offers new suggestions on how this technology developed. by Dan P. Cole. “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden,” said Matthew (5:14). Neither can it easily be supplied with water. Cities were built on hilltops because of the obvious defensive advantages. These advantages were somewhat offset by the disadvantage that the city’s springs or wells were normally at the base of the hill, outside the city walls. As the size of urban populations grew and the height of the cities themselves grew through successive rebuildings—creating higher and higher “tells”—the water supply moved progressively farther away.

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