Biblical Archaeology Review 32:5, September/October 2006

Strata: Strata Answers

How Many?

Answer: 36

According to the Web site of the Israel Antiquities Authority, there are 36 excavations currently being carried out in Israel. Not surprisingly, the highest concentration of sites is around Jerusalem, where there are eight active digs within a distance of only a few miles.

What Is It?

Answer: A. Amphora stopper

This stopper measures approximately 9 centimeters (3.5 inches) in diameter and is made of poorly fired clay. Stoppers were needed to seal containers such as amphorae and jars to prevent the contents from evaporating or spilling and, in the case of wine (the use for the most common type of amphora plugs), from fermenting. This was especially important in the event of transport or long-term storage. This example was found during the excavations at Masada and probably dates to the Herodian period.


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