Discovery of 3,600-year-old treasure offers new clues about an ancient people

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A treasure of gold and silver dating back some 3,600 years has been discovered in Israel, giving archaeologists new insight into how the region’s inhabitants lived during the period.

The trove was discovered inside a china pot at the excavation site Tel Gezer. Five artifacts were found inside, Israeli media reported, though three were in such poor condition researchers couldn’t effectively study them.

The treasure was found at the excavation site Tel Gezer, in a china pot. (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority)

The two items that were still in decent shape were a medallion consisting of a silver disc with an engraving of an eight-pointed star, and an Egyptian seal from the Hyksos period framed in gold.

The Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, which have been working together to excavate the site for years now, said they believe the objects found were part of a ceremonial offering of the Canaanites, who inhabited the area at the time.

Excavation of the site at Tel Gezer has been underway for several years. (Photo: orientalizing/Flickr)

“Gezer was one of the most important cities … during the Canaanite period,” Shaul Goldstein, director-general of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, said in a statement. “Its importance continued through the period when King Saul rebuilt the city. The trove found is a significant accomplishment that shines a light on the Canaanite culture in Israel 3,600 years ago.”

Tel Gezer was continuously occupied from the Bronze Age to the Hellenistic Period, and for much of that period acted as a buffer between the sea and the western entrance of Jerusalem.