Junior archaeologists uncover exciting find from Talmudic times of oil lamps made of clay during hands-on scientific project.

By Beth Stern, United with Israel

The Barkan industrial zone in Samaria is proving to be a more exciting place to study than a classroom for some of the region’s schoolchildren. As part of an educational project aimed at creating a bond between young students and their country’s past, the students of the Ben-Zion Netanyahu Elementary School – named for the prime minister’s father – in nearby Barkan get to work in an archaeological dig and see the fruits of their labors in real historical finds.

On Sunday, it was announced that the children had found two 15-centuries-old decorated oil lamps made of clay with the potter’s fingerprints still embedded in them.

Yossi Dagan, head of the Samarian Regional Council, visited the dig and praised the success that comes from teaching students history “through their hands and feet.”

“This shows the long-lasting bond between the Jewish nation and the Samaria region, a 1,000-year-old bond to our land. If anyone wants to find our connection to this place, he can just start digging into the ground,” Dagan stated.

This was not the first major find the Barkan students have made. In January, some children uncovered coins and large amounts of mosaic stones that led researchers to believe that the area’s ancient residents were quite wealthy, since these kinds of stones were extremely expensive during that era.

The sight of the children, who naturally reacted excitedly to their discoveries, pleased Dagan then as well. “We’re sure that the students who are exposed to this project and the dig are not only learning a love of research and knowledge, but are also bonding emotionally to this land. And there’s nothing more important than that,” he declared.

The teacher who is leading this unique learning project, Malka Rothschild, pointed to another extremely important educational goal reached through the fieldwork. “The children want to learn more about the subject beyond the school hours…. We have awakened their curiosity to the world around them, to the study and love of science.”