Tel Qudadi Fortress
© USA TodayTel Qudadi Fortress

The discovery of a single amphora, or clay jar, found in the ancient fortress of Tel Qudadi in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv could indicate both that the fortress itself is much younger than previously thought, and that trade between the area and Greek city states were much more common.

Writing in the journals Palestine Exploration Quarterly and BABESH: Annual Papers on Mediterranean Archaeology, archaeologists from Tel Aviv University say their work shows the fortress was not from the 10th century B.C.E. at the time of King Solomon, as was previously believed. Instead, it appears to date from the late 8th or early 7th centuries B.C.E.

That dating would make it part of a larger Assyrian trade network. At the time, Assyria was involved in the international trade between Phoenicia, Philistia and Egypt.

The clay wine cask is from the Greek island of Lesbos. It was found at Tel Qudadi, and appears to be the earliest example of Lesbian amphorae yet discovered, in the Mediterranean or on the island of Lesbos itself. Exactly how the amphora got to the fortress is unknown, but occasional trade routes seem most likely.

The amphora was a key find. Together with other ceramics found at the site, it allowed the researchers to recalculate the fortress' timeline.