3,800-Year-Old Grave Pit Filled with Weapons and ‘Thinking Man’ Found in Israel

3,800-Year-Old Grave Pit Filled with Weapons and ‘Thinking Man’ Found in Israel

(Read the article on one page)

A magnificent vessel decorated with a male figure was discovered together with daggers, an axe head and arrowheads that were apparently buried as funerary offerings for one of the respected members of the ancient settlement.

An offering pit containing a treasure of copper weapons and ceramic assemblage has been discovered in Yehuda, a Bronze Age city located in the territory of the Israelite tribe of Dan (Jos 19:40,45), some 13 km East of Tel Aviv-Yafo.

The excavation area. Photographic credit: EYECON Productions, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The excavation area. Photographic credit: EYECON Productions, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Among the discoveries are prestige items in excellent condition that the archaeologists believe belonged to the chieftain of the city. Bronze daggers, arrowheads, the head of an axe and a highly decorated drinking cup were found inside the offering pit, along with dozens of ceramic jars, pots and vessels.

The discovery was made by the Israel Antiquities Authority, prior to the construction of a residential building in the modern city that sits atop of the ancient.

Arrowheads that were exposed near the rare pottery vessel. They were probably buried as funerary offerings for a person that was a respected member of the ancient settlement. Photographic credit: Maxim Dinstein, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Arrowheads that were exposed near the rare pottery vessel. They were probably buried as funerary offerings for a person that was a respected member of the ancient settlement. Photographic credit: Maxim Dinstein, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

In addition to the bronzes, other items were found such as pottery vessels, sheep bones and what are very likely the bones of a donkey. An extraordinary jug from the Middle Bronze Age (2200-1550 BCE) set apart from the ceramic assemblages was found in the funerary deposit.

What set the 4,000 year old vessel out is it ´s unique 18 cm high sculpture of a man that sits atop the jar.

“It seems that at first the jug, which is typical of the period, was prepared, and afterwards the unique sculpture was added, the likes of which have never before been discovered in previous research,” said Itach.

The complete rare jug after being restored in the laboratories of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Photographic credit: Clara Amit.

The complete rare jug after being restored in the laboratories of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Photographic credit: Clara Amit.

The neck of the jug served as a base for forming the upper portion of the figure, after which the arms, legs and a face were added to the sculpture.  One can see that the face of the figure seems to be resting on its hand as if in a state of reflection. Itach added, “It is unclear if the figure was made by the potter who prepared the jug or by another craftsman”.

They finds may hint at the establishment of a 'code' of power: the bronze weapons and the ceremonial vessel are connected with the idea of a military leader, while the unique ceremonial vessel, which stands out from the others in terms of shape, décor and its figure atop, is possibly related to feasting with this ruler in the city.

The 3,800-year-old jug when it was exposed in the field. Photographic credit: EYECON Productions, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The 3,800-year-old jug when it was exposed in the field. Photographic credit: EYECON Productions, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“It seems that these objects are funerary offerings that were buried in honor of an important member of the ancient community. It was customary in antiquity to believe that the objects that were interred alongside the individual continued with him into the next world,” said Giliad Itach, head of the excavations in an Israel Antiquities Authority press release.

In addition, a variety of evidence regarding the kind of life that existed there 6,000 years ago was exposed – among other things, pits and shafts were revealed that contained thousands of fragments of pottery vessels, hundreds of flint and basalt implements, animal bones, and a churn which is a unique vessel that was widely used in the Chalcolithic period for making butter.

Top image: The 3,800-year-old jug when it was exposed in the field. Photographic credit: EYECON Productions, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

By Sam Bostrom

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Myths & Legends

A vase-scene from about 410 BC. Nimrod/Herakles, wearing his fearsome lion skin headdress, spins Noah/Nereus around and looks him straight in the eye. Noah gets the message and grimaces, grasping his scepter, a symbol of his rule - soon to be displaced in the post-Flood world by Nimrod/Herakles, whose visage reveals a stern smirk.
The Book of Genesis describes human history. Ancient Greek religious art depicts human history. While their viewpoints are opposite, the recounted events and characters match each other in convincing detail. This brief article focuses on how Greek religious art portrayed Noah, and how it portrayed Nimrod in his successful rebellion against Noah’s authority.

Human Origins

Sumerian creation myth
Sumer , or the ‘land of civilized kings’, flourished in Mesopotamia, now modern-day Iraq, around 4500 BC. Sumerians created an advanced civilization with its own system of elaborate language and...

Ancient Technology

All images courtesy of Dr Rita Louise
The vajra is the most important ritual implement of Vajrayana Buddhism. In Sanskrit, the word vajra is defined as something hard or mighty, as in a diamond. It symbolizes an impenetrable, immovable and indestructible state of knowledge and enlightenment.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article