Strange Ancient Burials Found in Southern Israel

Photo: Assaf Peretz (IAA) (Fair Use)

Archaeologists have uncovered a complex of kilns dating back to the Middle Bronze Age, around 3,800 years ago, in the ancient city of Yavneh.

The discovery made last year supports the view that Yavneh was a major center for pottery production that spanned several centuries and cultures, including the Canaanites, Samaritans, Christians, Jews, and Muslims. However, some of the kilns contained surprising items that researchers did not anticipate.

During a salvage excavation in Yavneh conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority, led by Pablo Betzer and Daniel Varga, in collaboration with Prof. Gunnar Lehmann from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the remains of four kilns used for pottery firing were discovered.

These kilns date back to the Bronze Age, around 3,800 to 3,500 years ago, and were found during the mild autumn days of 2021, Haaretz reported.

Following the kilns’ disuse, it was discovered that two of them had been repurposed for a less utilitarian purpose. They were repurposed as resting places, where two young women and a donkey were buried separately.

It was not uncommon in the ancient world to bury people inside former industrial sites, as these were often situated on the outskirts of residential areas. However, the recent discovery of burials inside kilns in Yavneh marks the first time that Israeli archaeologists have made such a finding.

Written by staff