Mysterious 3,800-Year-Old Baby Was Found in a Jar Unearthed in Israel

Archaeologists in Israel found a 3,800-year-old jar containing something surprising – a skeleton of a baby. Yoav Arbel, who is an Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist shares that even though such infant burials are not so uncommon, it’s quite a mystery why the infants were buried in this way.

A Baby in a Jar

3,800-year-old baby in a jar unearthed in Israel
Mysterious 3,800-Year-Old Baby Was Found in a Jar Unearthed in Israel

Arbel also states that people might go to the practical thing and say that the bodies are fragile and maybe they felt the need to protect them from the environment, even though the babies were deceased. However, there is always the interpretation that the jar is almost like a womb. This is an idea to return the baby to Mother Earth or into the symbolic protection of his mother.

The 4,000-year-old city of Jaffa, where the baby was found, is the older part of Tel Aviv. It’s the second most populated city in Israel after Jerusalem. Arbel says that it’s one of the earliest port cities in the world and has been almost continuously occupied since about 900 B.C.

The way that the baby was buried is not an unusual find for the region. There are different periods where people buried infants in jars. The finds were detailed in the 100th issue of a famous journal. It includes more than 50 other studies of archaeology from Jaffa.

Because Jaffa has been almost continuously used for over four millennia, the other finds that were described in the journal span the Crusader, Hellenistic, and Ottoman periods. On another side, Arbel and his team found a big pit full of pieces of imported amphorae that date back to the Hellenistic Period, from the fourth to the first centuries B.C. These nearly 2,300-year-old amphorae were crafted on various Greek Aegean Islands such as Kos and Rhodes. This one pit provides more evidence that trade routes between Greece and Jaffa were quite robust.

Old Jaffa, Tel Aviv, where the baby in a jar was found
Mysterious 3,800-Year-Old Baby Was Found in a Jar Unearthed in Israel

Other Great Finds

The archaeologists from Israel also found 30 coins dating to the Crusader (12-13th centuries), Hellenistic, late Ottoman (late 18-early 20th centuries), and British Mandate (1942) periods. They also found the remains of at least two horses and pottery dating back to the Ottoman Empire, 232 seashells, including those from the Mediterranean Sea, 95 glass vessel fragments from Crusader and Roman times, land snails, and three mother-of-pearl buttons.