So just how did 900-year-old rings, bracelets, earrings and hairpins come to be in the kitchen of a Crusader fortress tower in Modiin?
Tittora Hill is a unique and fascinating archaeological site within the municipal boundaries of Modi?in-Maccabim-Re?ut. Previous archaeological excavations on the hill have revealed evidence of its occupation from the Chalcolithic period (c. 6,000 years ago) up to the modern era. The hill is in a strategic location – on the main ascent route from the coastal plain to Jerusalem – and is surrounded by fertile valleys that were used as farmland and were able to support the hill’s inhabitants throughout the generations.
According to Avraham Tendler, excavation director for the Israel Antiquities Authority, “The students and volunteers from Modi?in have exposed the inner courtyard of the Crusader fortress. Here, the fortress’s occupants cooked and baked for hundreds of years during the Middle Ages, some 900 years ago. Ancient clay ovens (tabuns), cooking pots, jars, serving dishes, and a table were discovered in the ancient kitchen, as well as numerous remains of food such as olive pits, pulses, charred grape pips, and animal bones. It seems that the cooks of the time were not sufficiently careful with the jewelry they wore while cooking and baking, since numerous pieces of jewelry have been found in the excavation, some made of bronze and silver.”
Most of the jewelry has been found by volunteer archaeologist Mati Yohananoff, who is a regular participant in the excavation. “Throughout the entire site, we have found many metal objects including coins, rings, bracelets and cosmetic tools,” he said. “These finds indicate the kind of activity traditionally associated with women’s domestic work.” Long-standing residents of the town coming to excavate with other volunteers are exploring the foundations of the fortress and skillfully exposing a large building from the Roman period hidden beneath the Crusader fortress.