TEL AVIV: Three fourth-grade students "wandering around" Kibbutz Parod in northern Israel discovered a 2,000-year-old candle made of clay, the Israeli Antiquities Authority announced on Monday.
The boys, Alon Cohen, Liam Atias and Rotem Livnet said they simply found the candle "sticking out of the ground" last week.
"At first we thought it was a special stone, so we pulled the object out of the ground," they said. As soon as the boys realized they found something more significant, the three shared the find with their parents, who contacted the IAA.
The boys were given a certificate of appreciation by the IAA and the Treasury. IAA staff also visited Nof Galil School to give the classmates a special lesson on antique candles ahead of Hannukah.
The find is already having an impact on an archaeological excavation at the kibbutz being done ahead of plans to expand the kibbutz.
"It is interesting that the children found the candle outside the area we are digging," said Dr. Haim Mamalia, the IAA's archaeologist for Tiberias and Lower Galilee.
"The finding of the candle may give us a clue as to how far the borders of the ancient site reached. If it weren't for the children, we wouldn't know this. There is no doubt that the find sheds new and interesting light on the excavation."
Dr. Einat Ambar-Armon, the IAA's director of education and community in the northern region said that Kibbut Parod is on the site of a Roman-era village called Perdiya.
The candle, she explained, "is referred to in the research as a 'scrubbed candle' - it is a closed candle, which is made in the maker's houses on top of stones.
For the most part, the candles of this type are without decoration, in contrast to the Roman candles of the same period. This is a special discovery, it is quite rare to find just a whole candle like this."
She added, "Thanks to the discovery of the candle close to the Hanukkah holiday, we received a greeting from the Jewish settlement of the ancient Parod."