Jan 23, 2022

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A group of students from the town of Susya in the Heron Hills was on a school trip and, as part of the curriculum, took part in the archaeological excavations adjacent to their town. While exploring the ancient ruins of a home, the children discovered a small oil lamp estimated to be 700-years old. Such lamps were commonly used in the region as wax candles were not available. Such clay lams were also used to perform the mitzvah of Hanukkah lights.,

Yochai Damari, head of the Mount Hebron Regional Council, stated that “the archeological site in Susya symbolizes Jewish history in the land of the Bible. The find is very moving and its discovery just before Chanukah is amazing. We are investing great resources in our historical past, for the education of our children, and for our future in this charming region of the country.”

Director of the excavations Achiya Cohen-Tavor said that “it was a really exciting find. One of the children suddenly yelled that he had found something – and when he showed me the lamp I realized that there was a unique find here. The candle is intact, a rather rare phenomenon.”

“The children can see with their own eyes how our ancestors lit candles – on Chanukah, on Shabbat, and on special days. The candle is dated to the last stage of life in ancient Susya, about 700 years ago. It was a period characterized by temporary residence, on top of the city buildings that has already peaked.”

This Hanukkah season seems to be particularly blessed with ancient lamps as earlier this week, a Hasmonean period lamp was discovered by archaeologists in the City of David.

Susiya is the site of an archaeologically notable ancient synagogue dating from the 4th to the 7th century CE and was in continuous use until the 9th century CE.