Stunning find in coastal region reveals ancient farmhouse and rare coin with Alexander’s name on it, testifying to Greek presence.
Excavations being conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority in Rosh Ha’ayin preparatory to enlargements to the city in the coastal region have unearthed a unique find in recent weeks – a 2,800-year-old farmhouse consisting of 23 rooms.
“The farm, which is extraordinarily well-preserved, extends across an area of 30 by 40 meters (roughly 100 x 130 feet) and was built in the eighth century BCE, the time of the Assyrian conquest,” said Amit Shadman, who is director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
“Farm houses during this period served as small settlements of sorts whose inhabitants participated in processing agricultural produce. The numerous wine presses discovered in the vicinity of the settlement indicate the wine industry was the most important branch of agriculture in the region. A large silo, which was used to store grain, shows that the ancient residents were also engaged in growing cereal,” explained Shadman.
According to the archaeologist, the farmhouse continued to be used during the Persian period when many Jews returned from the Babylonian exile and established the Second Temple in the sixth century BCE.
It remained standing during the Hellenistic period which started in Israel after Alexander the Great defeated the Persian army in 333 BCE and later arrived in the country.
The Greek presence brought in with Alexander was welcomed by many Jews and then grew increasingly repressive in forbidding Judaism, a state of affairs which led to the events of Hanukkah in which Jews fought back and defeated the Greeks, commemorated in the Jewish holiday that begins this week.
Evidence of the Greek influence was seen in the farmhouse, where a rare silver coin bearing Alexander’s name – ΑΛΕΞΑNΔΡΟΥ – was found on a floor in the building.
The coin features an image of the Greek god Zeus on the side with Alexander’s name, and the head of the Greek mythological hero Heracles on the other side.
The excavation also found that during the Ottoman period in which the Turkish empire controlled the region, a lime kiln was dug into the building using the farmhouse’s stones as raw material.
The Israel Antiquities Authority and Ministry of Construction have announced that the structure will be conserved in situ, given its excellent state of preservation.