One of the fascinating things about archaeological discoveries in Israel is how frequently they come from unplanned discoveries by common people rather than government excavations.
The Roman-era ring had been buried in the Sussita National Park for 1,700 years without anybody seeing it until 13-year-old Itamar Grossman from Kibbutz Ashdot Ya’akov Meuhad stopped to take a photo last week.
Itamar described the ring on the Ynet website as “a strange and ancient-looking ring.”
My brothers and cousins who were around me assumed it was just a dropped ring and didn’t think it was anything old. But I persisted, so I brought it to my parents, who felt it was quite old because of the engraving.
We went over to a member of the Nature and Parks Authority who was present, and they took the ring for preliminary inspection.
Itamar learned he had discovered a treasure when the results of the archaeological investigation on the intriguing find were sent to him on Sunday: a ring that had been preserved in time for 1,700 years.
“When Itamar and his mother, Liat, approached us and showed us the ring they found, we immediately realized it was something significant,” remarked Sarit Palachi Miara, the head of visitor experience in the northern area of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, who met the family at the national park.
“We found something extremely interesting, but we didn’t want to get too excited about it. We didn’t want to have high hopes only to be let down. We initially informed Itamar that there was a possibility it came from the Roman era. He wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, and when we told him it had happened so long ago, his eyes widened in shock,” she continued.
The ring was described by Dror Ben-Yosef, an archaeologist of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority’s northern department. “The old ring is made of bronze, and when it was formed, an adornment was added. It can be dated to the Roman era, between the first and fourth century CE, based on rings that have a similar design that have been discovered in Israel,” he said.
Itamar said, “I’m really happy it turned out I was right, and this is something crucial.” Sussita, a significant Roman town without a Jewish population, was situated on the southern Golan Heights above the Kinneret.
Due to this, it was one of the few towns spared from paying tithes during the time of Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi so that the needy could benefit.