A Glimpse into History: High Schooler Discovers Ancient Roman Soldiers’ Lamp in Israel

In an extraordinary blend of past and present, a 16-year-old high school student from Tamar High School in Hod Hasharon, Israel, stumbled upon a significant historical artifact during a school trip. Yonatan Frankel made the discovery of a lifetime along the Scorpions’ Ascent, a location steeped in history for its role as a crucial ancient trade route. Here, Roman soldiers once guarded a fort, keeping watch over the transport of valuable commodities like copper and possibly gold. Frankel’s discovery? A 1,600-year-old oil lamp, a relic from the days when Rome’s legions patrolled the region.

The discovery occurred as Frankel and his classmates rested near the Late Roman fort of Mezad Tzafir. Curiosity led Frankel to sift through the sand, where he uncovered not just any stone, but an artifact bearing the marks of human craftsmanship. The lamp, partially preserved and originating from Petra, Jordan, dates back to the 4th-5th centuries CE, illuminating a connection between ancient trade networks spanning from Mamshit to the copper mines of Feinan.

This isn’t the first lamp of its kind to be found at Mezad Tzafir. Ninety years earlier, Dr. Nelson Glueck, a pioneer in biblical archaeology, discovered a similar lamp, underscoring the historical significance of this site. The recent find by a young student bridges generations, linking the exploratory zeal of Dr. Glueck with today’s youth.

The Israel Antiquities Authority has praised Frankel for his contribution to preserving Israel’s rich history. Each artifact, like Frankel’s lamp, offers a unique lens into our collective past, shedding light on the everyday lives of those who once guarded this ancient land. This discovery not only highlights the enduring spirit of curiosity and exploration but also serves as a reminder of Israel’s deep historical roots and the ongoing relationship between its people and their heritage.

As we celebrate discoveries like Frankel’s, we are reminded of the layers of history that comprise the State of Israel. From ancient trade routes to modern archaeological finds, each piece of history contributes to our understanding of the past and our identity today. It’s a testament to the resilience and continuity of Jewish heritage, a beacon of hope and identity that transcends time.