Pre-Construction Dig Yields Ancient Treasures

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Just in time for the Hanukkah holiday, an Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) pre-construction excavation in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Kiryat Hayovel yielded 2,200-year-old artifacts.

A team of IAA archaeologists were called in before workers lay more tracks for the capital's new light rail.

A pre-construction excavation to ensure that evidence of the Jewish state's ancient past isn't lost to modernity is standard procedure in Israel.

The IAA excavation uncovered an agricultural community dating to the time when Judah the Maccabee and his small army defeated the Syrian Greeks, marking the start of the Hasmonean rule.

Among the artifacts found so far are a wine press, an oven for baking bread, a lead weight with the Hebrew letter 'yod' etched on it, and a perfume bottle.

 "Very little is known about the material culture and history of the residents of Jerusalem and the rural area around it in the fourth and third centuries before the common era," IAA excavation director Daniel Ein-Mor said, "and the newly revealed site will help us construct a theoretical model of a settlement in this area."

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