A group of fourth-grade students on a hike in Galilee discovered a 2,000-year-old oil lamp in the fields at Kibbutz Parod. The find was announced by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) on Monday, the first day of Hanukkah.
The children, Alon Cohen, Liam Atias, and Rotem Levnat — from the kibbutz’s Nof Hagalil School, made the discovery about two weeks ago.
At first, they thought it was a stone sticking out of the ground. But after extracting it, they realized it was a complete clay oil lamp. They brought their find home and their parents notified the IAA.
The boys were awarded a certificate of appreciation by the IAA.
IAA archaeologist Haim Mamliya noted that near the point where the discovery was made, there is currently an archaeological excavation being carried out by the IAA in preparation for the construction of a new neighborhood in the kibbutz. He noted the importance of the fact that the lamp was found outside the area of the dig.
“Discovery of the lamp may give us a clue as to how far the borders of the ancient site reached,” he 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 director of education at the IAA, Einat Ambar-Armon, said the area of Parod in ancient times was a large Jewish village.
“The lamp that was revealed is a typical lamp for the Jewish settlement in the early Roman period,” Ambar-Armon said. “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.”
Israel Antiquities Authority director Eli Eskosido suggested seasonal rains helped uncover the lamp and noted the find came just days before the Hanukkah festival, which began on Sunday night.
“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,” he said referring to the theme of Hanukkah which tells of a small amount of oil for lamps in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem that miraculously lasted for eight days instead of the expected single day.
Eskosido said the lamp has been stored away in the state archives and will be available to researchers from around the world.