A 6,000-year-old fishing hook was found in Ashkelon (Photo: Emil Eljam, Israel Antiquities Authority)
A 6,000-year-old copper fishing hook, one of the oldest in the world, which was used to hunt sharks or very large fish, was discovered in excavations by the Antiquities Authority before the establishment of the Lakes neighborhood in the city of Ashkelon, funded by the Israel Lands Authority.
The find, which was discovered in 2018, has now been investigated and revealed for the first time, will be presented at the beginning of April at the 48th Archaeological Congress organized by the Antiquities Authority, the Society for the Exploration of the Land of Israel and its Antiquities, and the Israel Archaeological Association.
According to Dr. Yael Abadi-Reiss, who managed the excavation with Dr. Daniel Varga from the Antiquities Authority, "the height of the ancient hook is 6.5 cm and its width is 4 cm, and it is interesting that its size and spacing are suitable for fishing sharks measuring 2-3 meters, or For large tuna fish. Indeed, earlier fishing hooks were discovered in the past, but they are made of bone, and are much smaller than this hook. The use of copper is an innovation of the Chalcolithic period, and it is fascinating to discover, for the first time, that the technological innovation also reached hook production for the ancient fishermen of the Mediterranean coast." .
Its size and spacing are suitable for fishing 2-3 meter sharks.
The ancient hook from Ashkelon (photo: Israel Antiquities Authority, Emil Eljam)
In the past, earlier fishing hooks were discovered, but they were made of bone and not of copper as here (photo: Israel Antiquities Authority, Emil Eljam)
The excavation that took place in the Agamim neighborhood in Ashkelon (Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority, Yael Abadi Reiss)
"The rare hook tells the story of the fishermen from the village"
In the Chalcolithic period, large villages operated here, whose economy relied on branches of agriculture accepted to this day: sheep and cattle grazing, growing wheat, barley and legumes, as well as growing fruit trees.
"The eating and hunting customs of people who lived here in the area 6,000 years ago can also be learned from the remains of animal bones that are discovered in ancient garbage pits, charred grain kernels that are exposed in ovens, and also hunting and eating tools - sickle blades and a wide variety of pottery for storing food, for cooking it , and its preservation, which is done through the process of fermentation and salting.
"The rare fishing hook tells me the story of the fishermen from the village, who went out in boats to the open sea and threw the new development - a copper hook, into the water, hoping to add coastal sharks to the menu," says Dr. Abadi-Reis .
Antiquities Authority excavators in action (Photo: Antiquities Authority, Yael Abadi Reiss)
Dr. Yael Abadi with the 6,000-year-old copper hook (photo: Israel Antiquities Authority, Emil Eljem)
Research on the unique copper hook continues, led by Dr. Yotam Asher from the Antiquities Authority and Magda in Tiashvili, and more discoveries are expected about the fascinating item.