"Remains of the settlement cover an area of c. 2 dunams and include several structures and installations, such as the foundations of a large watchtower, baking facilities, ancient trash pits and an underground system that was probably used as a Jewish ritual bath (mikveh)," explained Dr. Peter Fabian of the Ben-Gurion University in the Negev and Dr. Daniel Varga of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
"Signs of a conflagration discovered in some of the structures evince a crisis that the settlement experienced, probably that of the First Jewish Revolt," they added. That revolt took place in 70 AD.
The ancient menorah found on the oil lamp shard is what researchers are especially excited about.
"This is probably one of the earliest artistic depictions of a nine-branched menorah yet discovered," Dr. Vargas said.