19 September 2015 - 6 Tishri 5776 - ו' תשרי ה' אלפים תשע"ו
Archaeologists find the Land of Milk, Honey – and Cinnamon E-mail

Israel is known to have been on the route of the ancient spice trade, but some archaeologists now think that at least one of the spices - cinnamon was made in Israel at the time.

A very common and popular spice found in many Asian countries comes from the bark Cinnamomum verum. It is found naturally in southern India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Another form of cinnamon comes from Cinnamomum cassia, found naturally in China, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.

Cinnamon, once thought to have been carried on trade routes in ancient Israel, may have been made along the northern Israeli coast and not just in Africa and India, Israeli researchers told LiveScience.

The archaeologists analysed 27 flasks from sites in Israel dating back 3,000 years and found that the compound that gives cinnamon its flavour was in 10 of the containers. The discovery made in Israel “raises the intriguing possibility that long-range spice trade from the Far East westward may have taken place some 3,000 years ago,” the Tel Aviv University and Weizmann Institute researchers wrote in a paper to be published in the journal Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry.

“We don’t think they sailed directly to the Far East; it was a very hard task even in the 16th century A.D.” Dvory Namdar, a researcher with the Weizmann Institute of Science and Tel Aviv University, told LiveScience in an interview.

Namdar and research colleague Ayelet Gilboa of the University of Haifa said the flasks, which at that time were in area that was part of ancient Phoenicia, feature a narrow opening with thick walls, indicating their contents were highly prized.

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