Ten ancient jugs unearthed at the Samaria site of the ancient city of Shiloh could lead researchers to new discoveries about the Jewish tabernacle that existed there before the First Temple was built in Jerusalem.
The jugs, only some of which were broken, date to the time when the Jewish people first entered the land of Israel. The vessels were unearthed approximately half a meter (20 inches) underground in a large room that is part of an ongoing archaeological excavation. The Bible attributes the tabernacle at Shiloh to the time of the High Priest Eli and the Prophet Samuel.
In recent years, the Archaeological Unit of Israel’s Civil Administration has been excavating together with the Shiloh Association. The goal of the work is to locate the southern wall of ancient Shiloh.
The newly discovered jugs indicate that in ancient times, the area was vacated abruptly, with residents not having enough time to collect and pack up their belongings. Among the jugs, the archaeologists also found a goblet known as a kobaat, a type of ritual chalice. The discovery of the kobaat ties in with the stone altar that was unearthed in the area a few years ago, and could indicate that researchers are closing in on the precise location of the Shiloh tabernacle.
Hanina Hizami, coordination officer for archaeology at the Civil Administration, said, “This is a very exciting find. The destruction could have been caused by the Philistine invasion and the fire that raged [at Shiloh].”