Zinman Institute of Archaeology

  • WeightFrontBlackHipposA brass weight weighing approximately 160 grams discovered during the University’s archeological excavations at Hippos (Sussita) provides groundbreaking evidence of the delicate relations between the Christian residents of the city and its new Muslim rulers, beginning in the mid-seventh century CE. “More or less by chance, we discovered a stain covering the cross on the obverse of the weight. At first we were convinced that it was just dirt, but in fact the stain was made deliberately to conceal a cross, a Christian religious symbol used by the Christian population, so that they could continue to use the weight in their contacts with the new Muslim rulers. This is the first time that we have found a weight featuring this type of concealed element,” explained Dr. Michael Eisenberg of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology, who is the head of the Hippos-Sussita Excavations.

  • 00306.00 00 18 35.Still001The oldest evidence of food storage rituals has been found by researchers from the University and the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) in Berlin during excavations at the prehistoric site of Tel Tsaf: an unusual pottery vessel. The vessel, which is over 7,000 years old, reveals for the first time the ritual and political significance of large scale food storage in the Ancient Near East. “Until now, discussions of the early transition to complex societies in this area have focused mainly on later periods and on the connection between the development of socioeconomic elites and the ability of certain individuals or families to store large quantities of food, beyond their own needs for survival. In this context, the findings at Tel Tsaf provide first hand evidence of the early connection between food storage on a large scale and the observance of a ritual associated with the successful storage and preservation of agricultural yields,” explains Prof. Danny Rosenberg of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology, who heads the research project at Tel Tsaf together with Dr. Florian Klimscha from the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin for the last five years.

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