Osnat Lester, a woman living in the town of Poriya Illit along the Sea of Galilee, placed a phone call to the Israel Antiquities Authority after a relative passed away, leaving her a collection of artifacts stored in crates.
When the archaeologists arrived, they were stunned
upon the realization that the objects in her basement were "real
treasures" that included pottery and jugs from the Biblical, Roman, and
Byzantine periods, reports the Jerusalem Post.
The pieces had
been found in the Mediterranean Sea by Lester's relative, a fisherman.
She told the Antiquities Authority in her phone call, "In my basement,
there are full boxes of ancient vases and pottery that a member of my
family, a fisherman, left before he died... I want to pass the pottery
on to the state, and I want my grandchildren to know where to see them
in the future."
The finds included a vase with a tall frame and
high handles that is thought to be about 3,000 years old, from the
Biblical period. Another was dated to the Roman period, about 2,000
years ago. A round urn has been identified as belonging to the Byzantine
era, about 1,500 years ago.
Archaeologists say that the pieces
range from such a wide time period because they are the remains of the
cargo of many sunken ships across the ages. The urns and vases were
probably used to carry food, oils, and wine.
completely surprised to learn of the artifacts' ancient history. She
told Haaretz that she thought the earthen vessels were probably about
100 years old.
Her relative also did not realize the importance
of his finds. "He was a naive fisherman whose entire world was fishing,"
she told Haaretz. “He loved whatever he drew from the water. The fish
he ate, and the vessels he kept. He thought they were pretty and could
perhaps decorate the house. He never imagined that they were ancient