A 900-year-old oil lamp dating back to the 12th century AD was discovered by a lifeguard last week along the shores of Ashkelon in Israel. This exciting find gives us more clues to the types of goods sold during this time period. Writers at Yediot Achronot tell us more.
Meir Amshik, a lifeguard at the Ashkelon Coast National Park, went out on his regular morning run on Tuesday morning.
"During the run I saw some planks had washed up from the sea, and I stopped to pick them up,” he said. “Suddenly, I saw that a new section of the cliff started deteriorating. I made my way there and saw the intriguing oil lamp lying there in its entirety. I thought it might be an ancient relic, so I picked it up. I went back to the lifeguard tower and together with Avi Panzer, director of the lifeguard station, we contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).”
Sa'ar Ganor, an archeologist in the IAA's Ashkelon District, discussed the lifeguard's fascinating finding. "The ancient oil lamp, which was used for lighting, dates back to the 12th century AD (the early Crusader period)," Ganor said. "You can really see the signs of wear and soot on the mouth of the oil lamp."
"The oil lamp represents part of the cultural richness of the ancient city of Ashkelon, which was a city of commerce,” Ganor explained. “The port in Ashkelon was used for the import of goods, as well as to export goods manufactured across southern Israel.”