There is a 3,400-year-old citadel in my basement. That's what the residents of an apartment high-rise in the Israeli coastal city of Nahariya will be able to say soon.
The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced on Wednesday it reached an agreement with a construction company to have the remains of a Bronze Age citadel incorporated in a building that is being erected near the beach on Balfour Street.
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Archaeologists uncovered the ruins during a large excavation which was carried out as the Kochav construction company started building a residential high-rise with underground parking.
"It seems the citadel was used as an administrative center that served the mariners who sailed along the Mediterranean coast 3,400 years ago. There was probably a dock alongside the citadel," Nimrod Getzov, Yair Amitzur and Ron Be'eri, the IAA excavation directors, said in a statement.
Numerous artifacts were discovered in the citadel's rooms, including ceramic figurines with human and animal forms, bronze weapons, and imported pottery vessels - evidence of extensive commercial and cultural relations with Cyprus and the rest of the lands in the Mediterranean basin.
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"The fortress was destroyed at least four times by an intense conflagration, and each time it was rebuilt," the archaeologists said.
An abundance of cereal, legumes and grape seeds were found in the burnt layers. According to the excavators, they are indicative of the provisions the sailors would purchase.
"Given the extraordinary nature and quality of the finds, the Israel Antiquities Authority sought a solution that would allow the conservation of some of the remains for the benefit of the public," the IAA said.
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Following a plan by architect Alex Shpol, at the Interior Ministry's regional committee for planning and construction, the building's basement will become a museum "for the enjoyment of the residents and visitors," the IAA said.