BFF-77 Ancient pottery factory unveiled in Israel

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BFF-77

ISRAEL-ARCHAEOLOGY-POTTERY

Ancient pottery factory unveiled in Israel

GEDERA, Israel, July 31, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Israeli archaeologists on
Tuesday unveiled what they said was a major pottery plant which produced wine
storage jars continuously from Roman to Byzantine times.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said that excavations near the town
of Gedera, south of Tel Aviv, revealed the factory and an adjacent leisure
complex of 20 bathing pools and a room used for board games.

Excavation director Alla Nagorsky told journalists at the site that from
the third century AD the plant produced vessels of a type known to historians
as “Gaza” jars for an unbroken period of 600 years.

“This kind of a place is not built in an instant,” she said. “An engineer
worked on it. The site is very designed.”

An IAA statement added that the jars’ main function was storage and
shipment of wine, which was a flourishing local industry at the time, with
large-scale exports.

“The continuous production of these jars probably indicates that the
business was a family one, which passed from generation to generation to
generation,” the IAA said in a statement.

It said the remains of around 100,000 jars found buried at the site were
probably discarded rejects.

Alongside the factory, it added, were two Byzantine bathhouses, at least
one with a heating boiler and 20 “finely constructed” pools, connected to one
another by channels and pipes.

“The archaeologists consider that the water complex served both the local
population and the many travellers along the ancient main road connecting the
port of Gaza with the centre of the country,” the statement said.

Gaza City lies about 30 miles (48 kilometres) southwest of Gedera, on the
Mediterranean coast. During its long history, Gaza has been ruled by the
Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, Mamluks and Ottomans.

At Gedera, the IAA said, the games room was “a rare and surprising
discovery”.

In it were boards used for playing backgammon and “mancala”, games which
are still popular in the area.

The statement said the Gedera pottery works may have built the leisure
centre for its employees, just as today’s hi-tech companies provide
recreation facilities for their workers.

BSS/AFP/MRI/2307 hrs