Treasure Trove of British Army World War I Artefacts Unearthed in Israel

world war I
Assaf Peretz/Israel Antiquities Authority

Century-old  remnants of an epic World War I battle between British and Ottoman forces have been unearthed during excavations for a new road in Israel.

A team led by archeologists from the Israel Antiquities Society (IAS) found the relics, which included a well-preserved British Army badge that was once attached to a military cap, among the remains of two Ottoman military outposts. Dozens of bullet cartridges and artillery shell shrapnel were also revealed at the dig at Rosh Ha’ayin.

Yossi Elisha, director of the excavation on behalf of the IAS, said he was surprised to discover rifle cartridges. He added:

“I was even more surprised when it turned out to be a World War I cartridge. As archaeologists, we expect to discover ancient finds from hundreds and thousands of years ago, whereas here we have a relatively ‘young’ one hundred year old artifact, but we were all drawn to the fascinating story of the battle.

“The preparatory program students and laborers collected more and more cartridges, shell fragments and various military items. In addition, two military outposts were discovered that were used by the Ottoman army. One was located inside an ancient field tower and the other was adjacent to an agricultural terrace.”

According to Elisha, “These finds constitute evidence of one of the major battles that was fought in Palestine between the British forces and the Turkish forces during the First World War”. British and Ottoman forces clashed in a brutal skirmish on September 19, 1918, as part of the larger Battle of Megiddo.

Archaeologists were exploring the area before a new road was paved in a bid to uncover artefacts dating back thousands of years.

The area of the Migdal Tzedek National Park (Majdal Yaba), where the finds were first presented to the Defense Attaché of the British embassy in Israel, was also included in the long list of sites throughout Palestine where battles took place during World War I.

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