Lost an earring in the kitchen? Do not get mad. Wait about 900 years and someone will surely find it.
This is happening in Israel, where 2,500 schoolchildren participate, one class at a time, in the excavation of a Crusader fortress on Tittora Hill, 32 km northwest of Jerusalem in the city of Modi’in-Maccabim-Re’ut.
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Grades 4 to 12 students discovered amazing artifacts – rings, bracelets, earrings, and hairpins – among ancient clay ovens, pots, jars, serving dishes, and a table in the kitchen of the medieval fortress. They also found food scraps, including olive pits, charred grape seeds and animal bones.
“Students and volunteers from Modi’in exposed the inner courtyard of the Crusader fortress,” said Avraham Tendler, director of excavations for the Israel Antiquities Authority. “Here, the occupants of the fortress cooked and baked for hundreds of years in the Middle Ages, around 900 years ago.
“It seems that the cooks of the time did not pay enough attention to the jewelry they wore while cooking and baking, as a lot of jewelry has been found in the excavations, some in bronze and silver.”
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“Throughout the site, we found many metallic objects, including coins, rings, bracelets and cosmetic tools,” said volunteer archaeologist Mati Yohananoff. “These findings indicate the type of activity traditionally associated with women’s domestic work.
The residents of Modi’in who have joined the volunteers explore the foundations of the fortress and display a large Roman-era building hidden below.
Previous excavations on Tittora Hill have revealed evidence of its occupation from the Chalcolithic period (4000 BC) to the modern era. The hill, strategically located on the main ascent route from the coastal plain to Jerusalem, is surrounded by fertile valleys that have been used for agriculture and have supported the locals for millennia.
“Tittora Hill symbolizes the connection between ancient Modi’in and the glorious history of this part of the country, and the modern city that exists today,” said city mayor Haim Bibas. “The hill contains many historical and archaeological finds.”