3,400-year-old citadel in the basement

The remains of a 3,400-year-old Canaanite citadel, which were recently unearthed in the middle of the coastal city Nahariya, are to be preserved and incorporated in an apartment high-rise, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced Wednesday.

The citadel will be presented on Thursday at a joint archaeological conference by the Northern Region of the IAA together with the University of Haifa.

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IAA director Israel Hasson and Danny Kochav, director of the Kochav Company, Ltd., reached an agreement to have the recently discovered excavation incorporated into the apartment high-rise Kochav Company is building on Balfour Street in the coastal city, not far from the beach.

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Youth groups and local students took part in the excavation of the site with the IAA, after Kochav Company initiated the project to build a residential high-rise with underground parking. With the help of architect Alex Shpol, planner for the Interior Ministry’s regional committee for planning and construction, a way to preserve part of the citadel in the basement level of the building was drawn up.

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“It seems that the citadel which we uncovered was used as an administrative center that served the mariners who sailed along the Mediterranean coast 3,400 years ago,” said Nimrod Getzov, Yair Amitzur and Dr. Ron Be’eri, excavation directors on behalf of the IAA.

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“There was probably a dock alongside the citadel. Numerous artifacts were discovered in its rooms, including ceramic figurines in form of humans and animals, bronze weapons and imported pottery vessels that attest to the extensive commercial and cultural relations that existed at that time with Cyprus and the rest of the lands in the Mediterranean basin.”

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The archaeologists found the fortress was burned down at least four times, and rebuilt each time. A large amount of cereal, legumes and grape seeds were found in the burnt layers, which are indicative of the provisions the sailors would purchase.